One More Thing: Kane in the driving seat
Billy Kane, the former chief executive of Irish Permanent, is revving up for another five years in the motor finance market. Kane’s First Auto Finance has negotiated an extension to its €500 million funding deal with UK company Close Motor Finance.
First Auto, launched in 2011, says it is now the largest non-bank provider of finance to Irish car buyers. With the auto lending practices of Irish banks requiring anything up to putting your granny forward for security these days, there was an obvious gap in the market for a new player.
First Auto says it can now offer car finance loans until at least the end of 2019, as a result of the new deal.
Last year, it loaned €70 million to new car buyers, up 44 per cent on the previous year. The company has a loan portfolio of €120 million, having financed the purchase of about 12,000 new and used motors to date. Its loan advances last month, it says, were up 94 per cent on the same month last year. Does that count as another green shoot?
Kane is a busy chap these days, having also teamed up with CarVal Investors to buy several portfolios of distressed bank loans.