On 7 July 2015 the Company announced the acquisition of SD Taylor, the Home Credit business of S&U plc, trading as "Loans at Home." for £82.4 million. The acquisition completed on 4 August 2015.
Established in 1938, Loans at Home occupies the number three position in UK home credit, with 78 years of history; a large and long-established customer base and agent network; as well as a high quality loan book with good underwriting and sensitive customer management. The acquisition created a platform for further growth and business development.
The business operates from one head office in Leeds and 46 other offices throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
It employs over 300 people and operates a network of over 750 agencies operated by self-employed agents. These employees and agents provide a home credit service to almost 94,000 active customers.
Loans at Home has a hugely experienced management team that together has over 160 years' experience in home credit:
Since acquisition, Loans at Home's management team has completely revitalised all of the business's operational processes and procedures to reflect recent regulatory changes but also to align with best practice and to allow the business to grow significantly. At the same time, the Group has invested in new technology that will both improve operational efficiency and compliance as well as reduce costs.
At the customer-facing level, NSF has invested in growing Loans at Home's self-employed agent network with the addition of large numbers of experienced agents from competing firms that in addition to bringing a wealth of home credit experience including responsible lending and customer relationship management, also bring access to and knowledge of a large and attractive home credit customer base, for whom the agent-customer relationship is often more important than the identity of the company providing the loan. As a result, Loans at Home has increased its network from 557 agents in August 2015 to over 750 agents today and the number of active customers has grown from approximately 87,000 customers at the time of acquisition to almost 94,000 customers today.
Strategy for growth
Loans at Home remains focused on growing its loan book and number of active customers on the back of a larger agent network. Having grown the number of agents, customers and loan book strongly in 2016, the focus for 2017 will be on increasing profitability through a combination of increased revenue, lower impairments and lower costs. However, we will also consider further bolt-on acquisitions assuming they meet the Group's overall thresholds for value and risk.