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IHIF: Leisure investment growing in importance for UK banks

IHIF: Leisure investment growing in importance for UK banks

The UK hotels and leisure sector has become the third-largest lending market for NatWest and RBS under the Funding for Lending Scheme, with the bank offering cost-effective FLS loans of over £200m to the sector to date.

NatWest and RBS is forecasting continued, strong demand for lending from this key client base in 2013 as the sector invests for growth.

NatWest and RBS’s commercial banking division, which caters for business with an annual turnover of under £25m, launched FLS facilities in August 2012 and, as at the start of 2013, had allocated over £2.26bn across 15,000 SMEs throughout the UK.

On a sector-by-sector basis, hotels and leisure is now the third biggest recipient of FLS loans, finishing behind healthcare and agriculture.

Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for commercial banking at NatWest and RBS, said: “I’m delighted at how successful we have been in helping clients in the hotels and leisure sector access cost-effective funds – we are committed to working with businesses of all sizes.

“Under the FLS, we believe we’ve made a real difference to this business base, creating a number of bespoke finance packages for many firms throughout the UK.

The specialist Hotels and Leisure Team incorporates people within the bank’s vast network with coverage across the UK, meaning we are able to draw on a broad range of experience including the commercial and business banking teams.”

NatWest and RBS formed its dedicated Hotels and Leisure Team in September 2011 and regards the hotels, restaurants, pubs and leisure sectors as one of the key lending targets across commercial banking.

The team includes more than 80 managers and directors across the RBS network. The bank operates across all aspects of the leisure market, splitting the sector into seven sub-sectors – with hotels receiving the highest percentage of fund allocation.

In 2012, total lending from the Leisure Team was up eight per cent against 2011, and is expected to increase again for the year ahead.

Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for NatWest and RBS, concluded: “We take a great deal of pride in both sector expertise, as well as our ability to listen to each business to gain a detailed understanding of their specific needs. The UK has fantastic businesses operating in the leisure sector.

The diversity of our skill set is something that we believe stands us apart from the competition.

“Our team commits to at least two full days a year dedicated to each of the businesses on our books, and we maintain a strong desire to understand and appreciate every client on both a thorough business, and personal level. We realise, however, that the work is far from over, and we will remain committed to helping hotels, restaurants and the many other businesses operating in the sector to fulfil their aspirations and ambitions.”