If you’ve ever wondered why you need an asset finance broker to help you expand your TV or film business, read on. By Paul Robson
Late last year, in amongst the Jimmy Saville scandal and the hangover from London 2012, a news story broke that had huge ramifications for SMEs and, pertinently, media companies in this country.
As there is a good chance that you missed it, I’m going to fill you in: ING has decided to pull out of the UK. Yes, you read that correctly. A Dutch bank has closed a UK subsidiary. Massive huh? OK, I can already sense a certain amount of ‘so what’ emanating from those of you at the back. I’ll explain…
ING Lease provided asset finance facilities, via intermediaries (or brokers), to small businesses in the UK. And we’re not talking a few quid, we’re talking more than £2 billion a year in leasing contracts for things like cars, farm equipment and, more fittingly for you, dear reader, broadcast kit.
With bank loans and overdrafts increasingly hard to obtain, ING was making it possible for someone like me to arrange an equipment purchase for someone like you, with the leasing company owning the kit while you use (and pay for) it.
But now, in one fell swoop, ING’s facility is no longer available. With those remaining banks that do lend direct to customers still demanding rock solid security (not to mention imposing unrealistic banking restrictions) in return for their loans, it has created a UK lending scenario that is far from ideal.
As frustrating as it was, I won’t go into the detail about ING’s decision. But I do want to say this: contrary to what you might think or read, there are banks that have already started to take up the slack. Companies like Aldermore, Investec and even Hitachi Credit (a firm famous for funding sofas and laser eye treatment) have all started paying attention to SMEs, and in turn, the media market.
The thing is, these lenders, like ING before them, only work through brokers. So customers cannot go directly to them. This is where someone like Medialease comes in. With less money available overall, an intermediary that knows your market and the equipment used within it – and has access to large amount of funding – has never been more useful.
We are unlikely to be in a position to solve all your financial problems but if you want to buy kit and your bank is asking for too many guarantees, wants to rearrange your banking set-up or overdraft or is simply making the deal too complicated, we may well be in a position to provide you with a simple alternative using one of our bespoke lending banks.
It is no exaggeration to say that the closure of ING Lease UK was a big story as it has left a huge hole in the UK economy. The good news is, you don’t have to fall into it…
Paul Robson is the Managing Director of Medialease, a specialist finance company providing asset funding and finance solutions to the broadcast television and film industries.