July 21 2004. Close Motor Finance has scored record motor finance and GAP insurance sales, following on from a successful 2003 performance. James Broadhead, Sales and Operations Director, notes that Close is running against the prevailing sector trend in growing finance and GAP sales while also generating 17.5% higher case volume, or revenue earned on loans and premiums.

Last year, finance sales climbed 34% with motorcycle business eclipsing the corporate average with a rise of 41%. Sustained growth in the motorcycle sector is credited largely to the enthusiasm and drive of specialist development managers who service 500 retailers.

Broadhead says Close is a small player compared with the finance major houses who tend to be method and systems-driven, not allowing for 'on-the-ground' service. Getting personal is a major appeal to Close's retailer clientele, which, according to Broadhead, has grown courtesy of 550 new retailer agreements, to a contact network of 4,500 retailers nationwide.

Close Motor Finance operates at street level with 14 branches and 60 account managers, providing local, personal service that fulfils the needs of many retailers. They are the kind of people who prefer cheques to BACs and appreciate Close running around for them, doing documentation, notes Broadhead. He also added: "Our rates are not cheap, but our retailers are happy to pay that premium for us to take care of business."

Admitting that its approach to financing could be construed as traditional or old-fashioned, Close does not utilise a points-based credit scoring system. Broadhead comments: "Our finance deals are underwritten on an individual, commercial basis. We don't eliminate business opportunities on the basis of received data. It is a case of specific local knowledge, and we will not penalise because of the wrong postcode, divorce or relocations."

The bottom line is that Doncaster-based Close, with 200 staff, is happy to write lesser amounts and go the extra distance.