Doorstep lender Non-Stan­dard Fi­nance pre­pares fundrais­ing bid

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael O’Dwyer

EM­BAT­TLED doorstep lender NonS­tan­dard Fi­nance has been given more time by a ma­jor lender to find fresh fund­ing.

The com­pany claimed it does not need new money to sur­vive but said yes­ter­day that it had held pos­i­tive talks with its ma­jor share­hold­ers over an eq­uity fundrais­ing to al­low it to grow its busi­ness.

NSF’s boss was forced last week to deny that his com­pany was on the brink of col­lapse when it re­vealed that the pan­demic had trig­gered ma­te­rial un­cer­tainty about whether it could con­tinue as a go­ing con­cern.

The com­pany, which lends money at high in­ter­est rates to more than 100,000 con­sumers with poor credit rat­ings, suf­fered a ma­jor hit af­ter it was forced to halt lend­ing for about two months dur­ing lock­down and grant au­to­matic pay­ment hol­i­days to cus­tomers who asked.

NSF was fac­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of pri­vate eq­uity firm Ares with­draw­ing a £200m fund­ing line yes­ter­day if it failed to come up with new funds to rem­edy a breach of the terms of the fi­nance deal.

It con­firmed yes­ter­day that Ares had ex­tended a waiver to al­low it to find a longer term so­lu­tion to its fi­nan­cial woes.

Shares in NSF closed down 3pc at 7p yes­ter­day.

An­other sub­prime lender, Morses Club, has been hit by the col­lapse of pay­ments firm Wire­card, which is­sues cards for its U Ac­count cus­tomers.

The Aim-listed lender said cus­tomers of U Ac­count – a cur­rent ac­count ser­vice that makes up 2pc of Morses Club’s rev­enues – have had their ac­counts frozen with­out prior no­tice from Wire­card af­ter the City watch­dog clamped down on Wire­card’s UK sub­sidiary at the end of last week.

U Ac­count cus­tomers’ money is held by Bar­clays, mean­ing the funds are ringfenced and are not at risk, Morses said.

Paul Smith, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Morses Club, said: “While our cus­tomers’ money is not at risk, we un­der­stand the dif­fi­culty this tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion is caus­ing our cus­tomers and we are work­ing tire­lessly to find a so­lu­tion.”

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