Belfast Telegraph

Surge in customer deposits helps profits soar at Cambridge & Counties Bank

Cambridge & Counties Bank said a record surge in customer deposits helped profits soar as it brushed aside political uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the US election.

The challenger bank drove home a 77% jump in pre-tax profits to £18.1 million for the year ending December 2016, with total deposits lifting 45% to £685 million.

Chairman Simon Moore said the bank had emerged unscathed from a "tumultuous year" and was now eyeing further growth - including bolstering its 121-strong workforce.

"Whilst the headlines of 2016 were clearly focused on major political changes, including Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the markets in which Cambridge & Counties Bank operate in the UK demonstrated that these events had little impact on the flow of business demand over the period.

"Whilst a small hiatus immediately surrounding the Brexit vote was evident, the property markets quickly recovered with demand showing a strong upswing in the last quarter of the year."

Cambridge & Counties Bank was launched in 2012 and is co-owned by the University of Cambridge's Trinity Hall college and the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund.

It focuses on lending to small and medium sized firms.

The lender said the number of customers with deposits jumped to 6,000 from 4,000 over the period, while loan balances climbed by 41% to £588 million.

Mr Moore added: "Markets and asset values remain steady, interest rates changed but not by a huge amount although the direction of travel caught some by surprise. 2017 looks to be a continuation of the theme.

"Whilst the advent of the Trump Presidency will start to change things in the USA, and the triggering of Article 50 brings Brexit another step closer, neither events are likely to change the real world economy in which Cambridge & Counties Bank operates in the short term."

The bank's balance sheet grew to £746 million from £518 million over the period and its total capital ratio stands at 14%.

Chief executive Mike Kirsopp added: "With increasing profits providing the capital to fund our balance sheet growth and our expectation of a relatively stable interest rate environment, we are optimistic for further strong growth in 2017."