Belfast Telegraph

Hampshire Trust Bank swings to a profit after seeing customer numbers rise

Specialist lender Hampshire Trust Bank swung to a profit last year after seeing customer numbers more than double.

The challenger bank said pre-tax profit came in at £4.4 million in 2016, which compares with a £3.1 million loss the previous year.

The Hampshire Trust, which focuses on lending to small and medium-sized businesses, said the profits haul came after it attracted more than 8,000 additional customers, taking the total to more than 16,000.

It is the group's first annual profit since its management buyout in 2014.

Chief executive Mark Sismey-Durrant said: "2016 was a landmark year for the bank. We achieved a full year of profits in only our second full year of trading since relaunch under new ownership.

"We earned strong interest margins on continuing operations and our continued focus on asset quality has resulted in each of our specialist lending lines achieving significant and profitable growth."

Customer deposits leapt 180% higher to £523.3 million in the period, while loans rose by 161% to £463.5 million.

Total assets within the group increased by 150% to £606.7 million.

Hampshire Trust was founded in 1977, but relaunched after it was acquired in May 2014 by a new management team with the backing of private equity firm Alchemy.

Mr Sismey-Durrant added: "We are confident that 2017 will be another significant year of strong delivery for the bank.

"Our focus will be on driving greater scale, improving operational efficiency and in further enhancing the experience of our customers. "

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