Amicus establishing SME commercial finance lender

Short-term real estate lender Amicus Finance is expanding into SME lending with a new commercial finance business. The firm has hired two working capital veterans to run the new lender.

Specialist lender Amicus Finance is launching a new commercial finance venture focused on small to medium-sized businesses (SME), led by John Wilde and David Hogg, who built an invoice discounting lender before selling it to Metro Bank. 

Amicus Commercial Finance will provide working capital to owner-managed SME borrowers with annual sales of between £500,000 and £5 million ($7.5 million; €7 million). The facilities will be revolving and driven by a new proprietary platform which uses technology and real-time data, the firm said. The business is set to begin operations in January. 

“Large bank-owned subsidiaries are currently responsible for around 85 percent of small business lending but due to cost savings, many of them can no longer offer the type of localised, relationship-based service that is valued by smaller firms and professional services organisations,” said John Jenkins, chief executive of Amicus. 

Commercial Finance has attracted attention from a number of new entrants including Apollo, which is expanding MidCap Financial, a US-based healthcare commercial lending specialist that it acquired, into new sectors and jurisdictions including Europe. 

Amicus noted that most new commercial lending ventures are focused on the larger end of the market, leaving a ripe opportunity for smaller-cap deals. 

David Hogg said: “There is a compelling opportunity to create a market-leading brand in small business finance. We’re excited to have the opportunity with Amicus to build this business and we look forward to the challenge ahead.”

Hogg and Wilde launched their previous business, SME Invoice Finance, in 2000 eventually building it into a national firm with 80 staff and 600 customers. The business was generating annual revenues of £12 million when it was sold to Metro Bank in July 2013.

The firm is focused on expanding into a number of new lending opportunities. In February, Amicus acquired SME lending brokerage Norton Folgate Capital Group Limited, including Norton Folgate Capital Consulting, to extend the firm’s specialist-lending capabilities to SME asset finance and leasing, high net worth financing and SME business loans.

Amicus Finance makes short-term real estate loans to private and corporate borrowers including landlords, developers and owner-occupiers. The firm was founded in 2009 and is part-owned by Omni Partners, also a real estate lender.