Paragon Group has reported a rise in pre-tax profit of 5.0% to £164.4 million.
2019 also saw growth in lending volumes for the group of 8.5% to £2.53 billion.
Specialist buy-to-let lending comprised 91.4% of the period-end pipeline and 88.8% of completions, compared to 87.8% of pipeline and 79.3% of completions respectively in 2018.
The group’s buy-to-let lending, at £1.48 billion, was in line with the previous year, while the pipeline of buy-to-let loans at the year-end was £911.7 million, an increase of 17.0% on the same position a year earlier.
Paragon’s commercial lending division has seen the greatest rate of growth, with new loans and advances up 36.3% at £968.0 million and the net loan book 28.1% higher at £1.45 billion as it benefitted from a full year of Titlestone.
Total new advances were £258.0 million higher, with development finance up £226.1 million, SME lending up £51.8 million, structured lending up £9.1 million and motor finance down £29.0 million, following a strategic focus on margin improvement over volume growth. Paragon’s existing development finance business has now been fully integrated with the Titlestone business.
Nigel Terrington (pictured), chief executive of Paragon, said: “We are delighted to report another excellent financial and operational performance, underpinned by our effective diversification strategy and focus on specialist lending. Volumes, profits and dividends are up strongly, and we are moving closer to our medium-term target of over 15% return on tangible equity.
“Paragon’s transformation to a broadly based specialist banking group has continued over the last year. Our customers have increasingly complex needs which are supported by ongoing technology investments and the deep experience of our employees. This approach, alongside a disciplined and prudent risk appetite, has enabled us to achieve strong lending growth at improving margins, whilst maintaining an exemplary credit performance.
“Whilst there is uncertainty in the environment we have prepared well and look forward with optimism to the opportunities ahead.”