Asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 3% in January compared with the same month last year, the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) has revealed.
It was the 28th consecutive month of growth.
Commercial vehicle finance and car finance grew in January by 6% and 4% respectively, but plant and machinery finance fell by 7% over the same period.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “Growth continued in the asset finance market in January, albeit at a slower rate than we have seen in recent months. A 17% fall in construction plant finance contributed to the overall contraction in plant and machinery finance and mirrors trends in the wider construction sector.
“Asset finance continues to be an important source of finance for SMEs with the latest BDRC SME Finance Monitor showing a success rate of 94% for SMEs who applied for asset finance in 2015. More than £16 billion of asset finance new business went to support SME investment in machinery and equipment last year.”