BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK is about to enter the car finance market, following a year-long recruitment effort that saw the lender onboard staff from the likes of Close Brothers, Barclays and Secure Trust Bank (STB).

The Solihull-based lender – the group’s main foothold in UK consumer finance – announced through social media on Tuesday it was about to “bring our new [motor finance] solution to the UK very soon”. Shortly afterwards, Laurent David, chief executive of the group’s Personal Finance arm, wrote on Twitter that the launch was “a matter of days now”.

An own-brand BNP Paribas foray in the UK motor finance market has long been in the works. In September of last year, Andrew Brameld – formerly of First National, Barclays and Lombard – was named managing director for motor finance, roughly at the same time as the global Personal Finance division acquired 50% of Opel/Vauxhall Finance.

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By GlobalData

Subsequent appointments to the motor finance team include sales director Robert Hutchinson, formerly head of motor sales at Barclays Partner Finance; operations director Joe Cooke, previously at Freedom Finance and Secure Trust Bank/Moneyway; and head of stock finance Simon Bryant, who used to head motor wholesale operations at Macquarie and Lombard.

Britain will be a late addition to BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s portfolio. The unit has been offering car finance in a number of countries since the 1970s, even scoring a joint venture agreement with Volvo parent Geely in 2015 to tap into China’s booming auto finance market.

On British soil, BNP Paribas had so far focussed mostly on corporate car leasing, consolidating its position next to Societe Generale’s ALD and Lloyds’ Lex Autolease with the integration of GE Capital’s European fleet business into Arval.

The French group acquired a major position in the British car market when the Personal Finance unit and Peugeot’s Banque PSA jointly acquired Opel/Vauxhall’s captive finance operations for €900m (£797m) last year.

“This partnership represents a great opportunity to further grow BNP Paribas Personal Finance’s footprint on the attractive automotive financing business and is fully in line with our strategic goals for 2020,” BNP Paribas chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafé said at the time of the acquisition.