UK Car Lending

Isle of Man firm takes majority stake in East Midlands car bill credit provider Payment Assist

An Isle of Man-based offshore banking and finance group has taken a majority stake in East Midlands car bill credit provider Payment Assist

Manx Ventures has acquired a 50.1% stake in Melton Mowbray-based Payment Assist for £4m – with an option to buy the remaining 49.9% for up to £5m more.

Payment Assist works with national chains such as National Tyres, Halfords and Formula O to provide point-of-sale financing to vehicle owners who have had work done.

It funded over 170,000 customers last year, up 43% from the previous two years.

It was created by Neil Jeffery and Colin Ellard in 2013 when they saw an opportunity to help garages secure their jobs by offering credit to customers unable to pay their bills immediately.

Since then, it has diversified lending into insured products and retail with a loan book of £21.3m as of December 31, 2021, up 72% since 2019.

Payment Assist had revenue of £6.6m last year, up 69% on 2019.

Manx has worked with Payment Assist since 2015, through its subsidiary Conister Bank – the Isle of Man’s only independent bank – which has provided funding to help the Leicestershire company grow.

Payment Assist Managing Director Neil Jeffery said, “I am delighted to enter into a long-term partnership with Manx Financial Group.

“We have worked well with Conister Bank over the past seven years and are confident that the partnership with Manx Ventures and the continued support of Conister Bank as we grow the business will position Payment Assist to continue to be one of the leading point-of-sale lenders in the UK and support our growth into new products and sectors.

Manx Ventures Managing Director Douglas Grant said: “The joint venture with Payment Assist continues our strategy of acquiring stakes in high-quality specialty lenders.

“We have seen firsthand the growth of Payment Assist over the past seven years and the board believes there is significant potential for further growth.

“The acquisition, with no shareholder dilution or external financing required, will position the company to capitalize on what we expect to be a high-margin, profitable business now and in the future.

“The option allows the company to acquire the remaining 49.9% of Payment Assist at an attractive valuation if the business develops as the company expects over the next three years.

“We have begun the engagement process with the FCA to gain their approval for the proposed control change and will make an announcement to update the market once this is received.”