Factoring and invoice discounting review of 2011

I guess that it’s been pretty much the sort of year that we all expected, with the factoring industry as a whole pedalling hard just to stand still.

According to the ABFA statistics the total number of companies using factoring and invoice discounting at the end of September was 41,572 which was a net increase of 61 since 1st January.

Interestingly the factoring industry took on 8,000 new clients in the period but lost a similar amount. It’s normal that quite a few of the new factoring clients are phoenix’s of existing clients but my understanding is that less and less companies have risen from the ashes this year.

Stats for the final quarter of the year won’t be out for a few months yet but chatting to other brokers as well as factoring companies it seems that the final quarter has been even more of a struggle with enquiries down and companies taking longer and longer to decide what they want to do anyway.

Over at Factoring Solutions we aren’t bucking the trend with our enquiry levels down on last year but oddly enough we have had quite a good year as the quality of enquiry has been higher and we are getting a higher proportion of deals away even if the lead time is getting longer and longer. In November two different factoring companies both paid away decent deals that first arrived on the scene 18 months ago before prevaricating like mad for a year and a half and finally signing on the dotted line when we had all but given up on them.

I am frequently asked why I haven’t blogged as much this year and the honest answer is that there has been very little to blog about. No factoring companies have gone bust, no new ones have started up and there isn’t much tittle tattle to write about. I notice that a few of my broking competitors have now started to blog but with the best will in the world their efforts seem to be designed to try and boost Google rankings rather than to be read by human beings as the articles seem to be the same “what is factoring” article rehashed every month whereas this blog is actually designed to be read by factoring people and I won’t post just for the sake of it.

There are one of two stories that I have deliberately not run with as most industry insiders already know about them whilst I can’t see it being in the public interest to bring them to a wider audience and to those readers who email me complaining that I haven’t published their responses I would remind you that this is a personal blog and not a forum.

There is just the one rumour lingering that has been around for the best part of the year concerning the supposed take-over of one particular factoring company and I have been told in the strictest of confidence from several sources that the buyer is – a different company each time 🙂