Welcome H1 growth for non-prime motor
lender

Hire purchase specialist Welcome
has grown its turnover in the first half of 2007 by 51 per cent
year on year to reach a total of £203m, it was announced.

The growth was achieved despite a slump in UK motor hire
purchase over the period, with a 2.4 per cent overall decline
recorded by the Finance
& Leasing Association
’s statistics.

Welcome, part of non-prime specialist Cattles
plc
, said the growth was due to the “success of the division’s
hire purchase field sales team in developing our national network
of used car finance introducers.”

Its car retail arm Welcome
Car Finance
, which operates from 12 sites nationwide, grew its
sales of used cars by 58.3 per cent in H1 2007 compared with the
year-ago figure, to 6,726 units.

The finance company currently only accepts one in 10
applications for credit, although it plans to increase the
proportion of business it writes: “We could comfortably accept many
more [than one in 10 applications] within our existing risk
profiles. And we’ll do so – at a pace that allows us to develop
appropriate products and stay as close to individual customers as
we do today.”

Retiring chief executive Seán
Mahon
, who will be replaced by David
Postings
, the former head of Lloyds
TSB
Business, said he was “delighted” with Cattles’ results.
“The growth momentum achieved in the second half of 2006 has
continued with record new business volumes being achieved in the
period, whilst maintaining stable credit quality.

“Demand for the group’s products remains strong and the benefits
from our significant investment in IT systems, distribution
channels and local branch network across the UK are now being
realised,” he commented, adding that broker-introduced business
volumes are rising: “We continue to receive an increasing number of
customer loan applications from our well established network of
major credit brokers and introducers.”