‘Finance is available’: Stoke Park
One of the industry’s best-known finance brokers, Stoke Park Finance, has reassured operators that, as income streams become available, vehicle finance is being offered.
Amid concern that confidence in lending has been impacted by the downturn in bus and coach business, Sarah Hardiman – Stoke Park Director – told Bus and Coach Buyer that vehicle sales are currently low, but there are still funders willing to lend, even though many lenders are also having to offer a further three-month payment holiday to operators.
“All funders, irrespective of the industry they lend to, have a responsibility to demonstrate the ability of the client to service the debt,” said Sarah. “But work is returning and where an operator can demonstrate a specific ability to pay, lending is still available.
“In reality, It is difficult for a customer to justify purchasing a vehicle at the moment without having the certainty of work for it”
Sarah says Stoke Park Finance has been “working tirelessly” since March to help operators obtain payment holidays but has written only a small amount of new bus and coach business: “Some of our customers have been with us for the whole 30 years we have been trading and are as much friends as customers.
“The horrendous timing of the pandemic couldn’t have been worse after a poor winter. We now need to ensure our customers get through to next March and the start of a new season. Some have expressed concern about a second wave of the virus transmission, and that is a concern. But we can only deal with problems as they arise.
“We have to be optimistic or you’ve lost before you’ve begun. Lenders have been very supportive.”
Sarah added that, as a broker writing 95% of its business for the bus and coach industry, it is committed: “Our primary mission is to support our customers; and we must all pull together to weather this storm .”