With the forthcoming Green Paper on social care for adults imminent, independent funder Henry Howard Finance says more care home owners want to take advantage of a growing and more diverse customer base by investing in new facilities or better experiences.
The UK population will reach more than 74m by 2039 with 18% aged 65 and over and 2.4% aged 85 and over.
With this ongoing change in demographics, coupled with the National Living Wages, auto-enrolment, the workplace pension scheme, a nursing shortage and financial uncertainty around Brexit, care home owners are facing challenges to their sustainability.
They find it hard to secure financial support for these investments from traditional lenders, such as banks. Fortunately, the commercial lending market has evolved to fill the gap left by stricter lending criteria, with asset finance arrangements providing an attractive alternative.
Henry Howard Finance was founded in 1996 and is one of the UK’s largest independent finance houses. Its flexible and responsive finance solutions assist more than 30,000 different UK-based businesses across a variety of sectors.
It has won ten awards in the last six months across England and Wales for innovation, technology and alternative finance products and employs more than 130 people.
CHM caught up with Gareth Williams (pictured above), sales manager and care home finance speciality at Henry Howard Finance.
CHM: How can Henry Howard Finance help care homes?
HHF: Many traditional lenders, such as banks, shy away from supporting businesses in this industry. As SME finance specialists, we know this can be a significant barrier to growth for care home owners that need to update their premises, refurbish or invest in business essential equipment but don’t want to pay a significant amount of money upfront.
As an independent finance house with its own capital, as well as access to numerous specialist lenders, Henry Howard Finance has an appetite to lend to almost all types of care and nursing homes. We offer affordable and efficient finance and re-finance options to companies of all sizes.
CHM: What is asset finance?
HHF: Asset finance is a simple and cost-effective way to purchase the equipment or assets a business needs to grow or diversify, without having to pay a hefty bill upfront. For care home owners, this can mean access to finance to cover the costs of new nursing, incontinence, janitorial, laundry and catering products, plus furniture such as beds, nursing and patient moving equipment such as slings, hoists and transfer kits.
CHM: What types of care homes will you support?
HHF: It’s important to know there are different flexible finance options. We wouldn’t rule out lending to new owners of an existing care home or a care home seeking to expand its footprint. It doesn’t matter how small or large your premises are, we are open minded and will look at each application on a case-by-case basis.
CHM: What about suppliers? Can they benefit too?
HHF: We are really keen to talk to suppliers of equipment to care homes. Our innovative Vendor Finance Division provides access to industry leading technology, a dedicated sales support service and innovative funding facilities to support equipment vendors, including ‘HowApp’, our online credit decision and deal management portal that allows users to complete a finance agreement in a few minutes.