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Thursday, April 12, 2023

Dunbar Bank looks North to drive increase in loan book

Commercial and residential property lender Dunbar Bank has had a strong first quarter and is well on its way to achieving its plans to increase its loan book by 10% to 680m.

According to the bank's chief executive Andy Deller, "new accepted business, in the first quarter, was well over 150m."

The bank, which is a member of the Zurich Financial Services Group, has historically generated the bulk of its business from London and the South-East. But it has been quietly building up a regional network. Dunbar now also has offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle and is currently recruiting for its office in Manchester.

London still remains its primary market but the regions are expected to become increasingly important for the future growth of the business.

Chief executive Andy Deller said: "It would be fair to say we have a higher profile in London and the South-East and that the regional lending markets are fiercely competitive. But our bespoke approach to clients, complemented with our reputation for flexibility and fast decision making is increasingly differentiating us from other banks".

Last year the bank made profits of 38m before tax. Significant deals included the bank lending 20m to Thornsett Homes for the development of 174 apartments in London and a 25m financing for City Living Developments for 180 apartments in Norwich.

Deller continued: "This year the challenge is to maintain the momentum of the business. This will be demonstrated by the bank writing in excess of 500m of new business to our balance sheet, with a net increase in total balances of more than 100m."

The bank can extend up to 30m to a single client on a single deal but it can subparticipate on larger loans with its Irish-based parent, Zurich Bank.

Deller explained that as well as seeking to grow the provision of shorter term acquisition and development finance it is also aiming to have brokered 60m to 100m, of medium term funding for portfolio refinancing, by the end of the year. This is also provided by Zurich Bank.