UK SMEs rocked as ING Lease drops asset finance
By Simon Nias Wednesday, 31 October 2012
The last major mid-market funder to the print industry, ING Lease, has announced its decision to pull out of UK asset finance from 30 November.
ING’s shock decision, announced on Monday (29 October), will leave an estimated £1bn hole in the asset finance market for UK SMEs, including the print industry.
Its withdrawal is expected to have the biggest impact on printers looking to finance sub-£100,000 investments, where it was widely regarded as "the major player".
"Anyone looking to sell equipment on a consumables bundle that doesn’t have their own internal finance company or external partner will be affected," said Print Finance managing director Paul Coggins.
"Digital machines and CTP will definitely be more difficult to finance. It’s also going to be a major blow for a lot of the smaller brokers who will have one of their single biggest supporters taken away from them."
Mark Bailey, director at Asset Finance Solutions, added: "ING was one of only a handful of funders that still had an appetite for the print industry and would readily consider the more ‘electronic’ equipment, such as digital, wide-format and CTP.
"Their departure will leave many brokers and even, potentially, suppliers struggling to place such equipment after that date. I think you would be hard-pressed to find many printers who haven’t dealt with ING at some stage."
ING’s exit follows the departure from brokered print finance of a host of funders over the past four years, including CIT, Lombard, HBOS, Hitachi, Fortis, HSBC and Lloyds.
Coggins added: "It’s a very sad day for print. It will have an impact on a lot of businesses and the only positive is that there are still people out there like us and Close who are supportive of print and of the brokers."
Almost as damaging as ING’s departure is the timeframe it has imposed with all new business and payout operations due to cease from 30 November and its portfolio to be run off thereafter.
"In print, lead times can sometimes be from eight to 12 weeks, so you’re going to end up with a situation where the finance will no longer be in place by the time the kit is delivered," said Coggins.
"The brokers will be running around like mad trying to get a substitute in place and they probably will, but it might not be on the same terms the customer was expecting when ING was going to fund it."Tweet
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