Independent lender MotoNovo has launched a dedicated commercial finance service line.

The business will provide finance to intermediaries looking to work with SMEs in need of cars and LCV finance – both new and used.

Luke Curtis is leading the team, which has its own field and underwriting resource.

Curtis said: “We believe that intermediaries are often missing out on providing SME customers with appropriate vehicle specific finance. 99.3% of all private sector businesses in the UK are SMEs according to the Federation of Small Businesses. It is a huge number and there is an undoubted opportunity to reach out and help them by offering help and guidance in areas such as cash flow supportive finance and fresh funding lines. Where we can help is to back up these products with expertise in underwriting and field-based training and support, solely dedicated to the car and LCV market.

“While in the year to date fleet car sales are down 2.1% year on year and business sales are down a worrying 29.8%, this does not tell the full story. Fleet refers to 20 vehicles and above, while business which has a  sub 20 category, has only been responsible for 5665 registrations this year. That is less than 2.5% of the market. There is a clear gap, between the scale of the SME market and the vehicles that are being purchased. We aim to help intermediaries to bridge the gap successfully.”

The gap that Curtis points to is threefold; LCV sales, which have grown this year, mis-allocation of some business users as private buyers and the purchase of used vehicles. Increasing the access to customers in these categories is something Curtis sees as a significant opportunity, especially as he concludes SMEs are on a growth trajectory.

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Curtis concluded: “While many SMEs may be smaller ‘micro’ businesses, the evidence is that many plan to grow and increase headcount. Some 80 percent of SMEs interviewed at the start of 2018 expect moderate or substantial growth for their business this year. At the same time, the SME business community is characterised by people who are hard-working, agile but time-short; these businesses want and value expert advice; with access to our funding lines one car can become a three business fleet and arguably more than in any other market, word-of-mouth matters.”