Shawbrook Bank makes first profit

New banking venture Shawbrook has delivered its first annual profit, benefiting from strong demand for borrowing from cash-starved small businesses.

The group, chaired by former RBS chairman and chief executive Sir George Mathewson, specialises in lending to small firms.

It reported underlying profits of £2.6 million in 2012 against losses of £8.4m in its first year of operation.

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Gross lending leapt to £480m in 2012 from £77m in 2011, helped by the acquisition of Singers Asset Finance last March, while it benefited from “significant” demand from small businesses amid plans to grow lending further over the year ahead.

The group, launched in 2011, said it broke even last May – six months ahead of plan – with profits each month since then.

But start-up and acquisition costs saw it remain in the red on a statutory basis, with bottom line losses of £7.8 million against £10.8 million in 2011.