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ThinCats’ loan book soars 10x in three years

The alternative SME lender has achieved a tenfold increase during a period that saw its retail platform closed as well as its deep involvement in government-backed pandemic lending schemes such as CBILS and CLBILS.

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Amany Attia/ThinCats

SME alternative lender ThinCats’ has seen its loan book increase tenfold over the past three years to more than £500m, according to data supplied by the firm. 

Outstanding loans provided by ThinCats, largely through institutional capital, to UK SMEs currently stands at £508m. Up from £306m in 2020, £186m in 2019 and £49m in 2018.

In the past three years, ThinCats has crystalised a transformation of its business by shutting its retail platform and hiring ex Lehman Brothers securitisation chief Amany Attia, as its CEO to power up its lending. 

Last year, during the pandemic it originated £289m worth of loans as one of the first fintechs accredited to the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) in April 2020. It was also one of the few alternative lenders accredited to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

“Non-bank lenders have made significant progress in recent years in providing funding to smaller businesses through online platforms and to larger businesses through direct lending funds run by large private debt asset managers,” Attia said. 

Since 2017 it has deployed just under £700m of loans - typically between £1m-15m to medium-sized SMEs. Key to this growth has been the success of deals struck with two large institutional investors. A £300m deal with Insight Investment Management (part of BNY Mellon) was announced in September 2018 and a £200m deal with BAE Systems Pensions in December of the same year.

“As well as meeting a clear funding requirement, ThinCats has attracted a wide range of institutional investment,” Attia said.

“We have well-developed plans that will enable us to deploy many times this amount over the next few years in support of businesses that will drive much of the UK’s future economic growth,” she added.

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