Fledgling bank posts maiden profit

Fledgling bank Aldermore unveiled its first annual profit as its drive to challenge the big high street players gathers pace.

The Peterborough-headquartered group, which has lent £1 billion to small businesses and the same amount to homeowners since its launch in 2009, edged into the black with profits of £759,000 in 2012, against losses of £899,000 the year before.
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Aldermore now has more than 80,000 accounts for retail and business savers and saw deposit balances leap 59% to £2.1 billion at the end of the year.

The group's net lending rose 77% to £899 million as it also tapped into the Funding for Lending scheme (FLS) launched last summer by the Treasury and the Bank of England.

Aldermore is one of 13 lenders to draw down from the FLS and has accessed £205 million in cheap finance under the scheme as at the end of 2012.

Chief executive Phillip Monks said the group had established itself as a challenger bank for a market that was "hungry for change".

He added: "We are supporting UK businesses and homeowners by expanding our lending at a time when a number of the UK's largest banks are reducing their overall lending."

The bank does not have branches, instead allowing customers to bank online and by phone, and said it was benefiting from not having the legacy system issues hitting many of its larger rivals.

Aldermore, which has more than 500 staff, offers lending to small businesses through commercial mortgages, invoice financing and asset finance, which provides cash secured against assets such as equipment. It now has more than 1,600 commercial mortgage borrowers, over 1,000 customers in the invoice finance business and lends asset finance to some 5,500 small businesses.

The group also launched residential mortgages in 2010 and now lends to more than 7,000 homeowners and buy to let borrowers. But its growth saw the bank put aside more to cover bad debts, up from £1 million in 2011 to £4.6 million last year.

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Fledgling bank posts maiden profit

They might think they're masters of the universe. We know they've dobbed the rest of us in it. After lending out recklessly, they are blamed for causing the financial crisis. Even after they had to be bailed out by taxpayers, they still give themselves obscene bonuses.

Have the power to enter your home and seize your possessions. Debt collectors are a form of bailiff-lite. They can 'only' write, phone or visit your home to talk about the debt. Don't bother bringing out the best china.

Last year's heavy snow meant lost parking revenue, as attendants were stopped from handing out as many tickets as normal. Edinburgh Council lost more than £700k in parking revenue in just two weeks. Expect parking wardens to redouble their efforts as they make up for that in the rest of 2011.

Yes, there are honourable exceptions. There are also reasons why these guys have the reputation they do.

Not as venal as some on the list. But some of these guys would persuade their granny to sell for £50,000 less than her home is really worth. Just so they can get a deal done and take their commission. It's always one story with them when you're selling. Another when you're buying.

Not independent, despite what they claim. Until big changes in the law come into effect in the next couple of years, they are paid on commission. So it's in their interest to stuff clients into whichever products pay them the most - it doesn't matter whether the product is any good or not.

These guys will charge you for yawning. But there's no fighting them. They set up the system and know best how to work it.  The ultimate parasites? But then, they earn so much money what do they care what other people think?

It's 6.30pm, the hour when hell gates open for every parent. The phone rings. It turns out to be a gentleman from Bangladesh, selling you phones in indescribably bad English.

Low barriers to entry mean spamming is on the rise. Experts expect 7 trillion spam messages to be sent this year, costing millions in lost productivity and fraud. Internet service providers are among those worst affected. They have been forced to add extra capacity to carry the messages.

An out-of-place figure on your tax return, or big fluctuation from year to year could be enough to prompt a dreaded tax inspection. Since 2009 HM Revenue and Customers have been able to check a wider range of payments than before. Previously they could only look at VAT and employer returns. Now they have the power to inspect income tax, capital gains, PAYE and corporation tax

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