New deal secures Chester future for finance group
An award-winning finance group has signalled its long-term commitment to Chester by signing a new ten-year deal on its premises just outside the city.
The Funding Corporation, which started life in Chester almost a decade ago, employs around 240 full-time staff, 160 of whom are located at International House on Chester Business Park.
Now the group has agreed a ten-year extension of the lease of its headquarters, and has started on a major re-fit of the 14,000 square foot premises to allow for continuing development.
The £150,000 refurbishment project is being carried out almost exclusively by suppliers and contractors from the region as part of The Funding Corporation’s “buy local” policy.
Everything from the carpets to the new air conditioning system - and even the specially created graphics for the walls - will be sourced from nearby enterprises.
According to Managing Director David Challinor, the wide variety of commerce and industry in the area was one of the reasons why the group originally chose Chester as a business base ten years ago.
He says that The Funding Corporation’s decision to remain in Chester was also influenced by the prospect of being able to draw on many different types of locally available skills:
“We’ve built up a fantastic staff team here, from young trainees to experienced finance professionals, many of whom were already based here in Chester,” said David.
"In fact, we have also linked with West Cheshire College to provide training opportunities and work experience for students who would like a career in the financial services sector.
“We are wholly committed to Chester, and that is why we had no hesitation in negotiating a renewal of our lease which will take us to 2020 and beyond,” he added.
The company provides motor finance for people whose credit status might have been damaged by previous loan repayment problems.
It is, said David, a fast-growing sector as mainstream lenders, such as banks, continue to tighten up on their criteria and accept only the very lowest-risk customers.
The cars against which the company lends are supplied by its subsidiary business ACF Car Finance Limited which operates a national network of car showrooms.
The Funding Corporation’s ethical business policies were highlighted May 2011 when it was named Britain’s Most Responsible Lender in the Credit Today Awards.
The title is a top accolade in the prestigious annual award scheme for finance companies, and contenders included major high-street lenders such as Barclays and the Co-operative Bank.
International House is leased by The Funding Corporation from Prospect (GB) Ltd, one the of the country’s fastest-growing property development and investment companies.
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