A new steering group set up
by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) could
encourage a raft of new funders into the vehicle rental and leasing
market.

The BVRLA states the group’s
aims are to improve the availability of competitively-priced
funding for the industry and to help existing and potential funders
better understand its risks and rewards.

The group has been formed as
the industry’s main funder, Lloyds Banking Group, continues to
reduce its £1bn exposure to the rental and leasing market. Although
Lloyds has pledged to work with the industry to make this
transition as smooth as possible, the BVRLA says it is keen to help
Lloyds’ customers in particular to reduce their dependency on its
funding.

The group is already working
with several new funders to evaluate the opportunities and product
requirements of the industry and to identify barriers.

BVRLA chief executive, John
Lewis said: “This group has been created to help replace some of
the liquidity lost since the credit crunch, as banks struggled to
build up their balance sheets and improve their flow of
lending.

“Our industry has coped with
this squeeze and now it’s time to help lenders return to the market
and explore new funding opportunities. From the conversations we
have had with potential lenders already, I am confident there is
new finance available for leasing and rental companies.”

The steering group is chaired
by BVRLA honorary treasurer and board member Brian Back and
includes members from the association’s three key sectors: Graham
Hale of Fleet Hire, Andrew Cope of Zenith Provecta, Roger Hancock
of Thrifty Car Rental and David Barlow of ProHire.

The group’s first meeting was late last month, and it has
begun work on producing an ‘Industry Profile’ document for
potential funders and aims to conduct a funding survey of members
by the end of May.