Lombard reavows commitment to van leasing for SMEs
In the last year, the firm has been keen to demonstrate its support to SMEs through its Lombard Vehicle Management division, saying that smaller firms are the 'lifeblood of the UK economy'.
Now, Gary Leitch, managing director, Lombard Corporate Asset Finance, has spoken out to say that smaller companies should not overlook the advantages of leasing, including the ability for the lessor to take responsibility for the management costs associated with ownership as well for the disposal of the vehicle. Leasing can also help with freeing up cash.
The firm is also looking to show that it is keen to work with customers on rates and agreement terms.
Leitch added: 'Where the general cost of credit to lenders has increased, the rates charged to our customers remain competitive given the underlying low interest rate environment.
'Typical agreement terms had not changed much in the past two years, however two distinct segments have polarised. For logistics and contractual work, both operators and lenders have looked to match terms while own account operators have usually kept to their original replacement cycles depending on assets – vans, trucks and trailers at three, five and seven years respectively.'
While some firms may be concerned about their ability to get credit, Leitch says that the fundamentals that determine if a firm, or an individual, can secure finance remain the same: 'At Lombard our key assessment factors include the ability to repay the borrowings, the strength of their customer base or contracts, industry sector, their financial track-record especially through the down-turn, the management team, among other criteria which played a role in the assessment.'
He concluded: 'The level of finance we have available hasn't changed either allowing us to remain active and hungry for new business in all sectors, from SMEs to large corporates. The level of finance has actually reduced simply by virtue of fewer vehicles being bought by the operators who chose to "run-on" the vehicles, or acquired vehicles on short-term rental basis until they could see stability in the economy and marketplace.'