IN a potential sign of the strain the Covid-19 lockdown is having on the economy, an Edinburgh financial business has seen an increase in the number of individuals and businesses seeking to take advantage of asset finance.
Edinburgh Asset Finance, based in the capital’s New Town, is reporting a steady growth in clients who have never previously used its asset finance facility, as well as significant strategic positioning by its large portfolio of existing customers.
And while the pandemic emergency lasts, the finance house is also extending its discreet and preferential alternative service to employers who are facing short-term liquidity problems while they deal with the immediate costs of shutdowns.
Edinburgh Asset Finance believes its offering is more relevant now than ever before, particularly in assisting the cash-flow of employers who are keeping workers on the books through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, thus “doing the right thing” by their staff.
It is immediately able to help employers, many of whom are paying staff wages out of their own pockets, to bridge the gap until funding becomes available through the emergency schemes announced last month by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Neil Mitchinson, Edinburgh Asset Finance director, said: “By week three of the crisis, we were seeing a definite increase in contact from individuals who have never previously used our services. In these times, our product is extremely viable for the challenges faced by many individuals and business owners, so we are expecting things to get steadily busier.
“As far as employers are concerned, it is clear that many people whose businesses have been affected through no fault of their own are facing serious cashflow headaches.
“While the Government’s intervention is very welcome, it is anticipated that the online service which allows employers to claim will not be available until at least the end of this month (April 2020), leaving a significant period for them to fund.
“While we all hope to get through this, it would be hard if businesses with a viable long-term future were irretrievably harmed by a temporary funding shortfall, and we are keen to help them meet the challenges they are currently facing.”
The Government’s job retention scheme allows employers to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs for up to three months from March 1, as well as NICs and auto-enrolment pension costs.
Edinburgh Asset Finance is willing to advance up to 60% of the value of a very broad range of assets worth in excess of £3,000. They must be personally owned, as company-owned assets are not eligible.
Mr Mitchinson added: “At times like this, when people are in isolation, assets such as second cars, luxury watches, pleasure boats and motorcycles can be used to quickly realise funds. Rather than selling them at a loss, they can be safely lodged with us and recovered when the immediate cash needs recede.”