Subprime lender Advantage Motor Finance signed 12,542 new customer agreements for the half year to 31 July 2017 – a 21% year-on-year increase, and record number for the lender.

As reported in parent company S&U’s half year results, Advantage received 440,000 applications, also an increase of about 20%.

For the month of July, Advantage collections hit a record level of £10m.

It wasn’t all good news, however. There was an increase in 12 month rolling impairment from 20.1% at year end to 22.7% at the end of July. S&U said this was due to a return to the overall portfolio product mix.

It noted these levels remained ‘significantly’ below the impairment levels from five years ago – and even when impairment levels were that high, Advantage had remained profitable.

It said it hoped to slide this arrest through a refined Delphi 10 based scorecard system, and the recent introduction of a new online customer arrears payment initiative.

S&U said it expected the upcoming Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) report due to be published next year to focus mostly on PCP – a product Advantage does not offer.

Overall S&U reported £14.3m profit before tax, up 20% on H1 2016, with revenues increasing 33% to £37.6m.

Anthony Coombs, chairman of S&U, said: “In contrast to the reported hiatus in both the used car market and in economic growth generally, S&U continues to experience robust and good quality demand and our current trading is in line with our expectations. In uncertain times we are very confident of our prospects for further steady and sustainable growth