By Daniel Hunter

One of the UK's newest challenger banks, Cambridge & Counties, has reported strong annual growth in 2014.

The bank, which focuses on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), reported modest profits of £4.1 million. But for a bank more generally interested in lending figures than profits, a 126% rise in the amount lent to SMEs is great news. Cambridge & Counties loan book reached £253m by the end of the year.

The bank, which launched in 2012, also saw an 87% increase in the value of deposits, which hit £388 million.

The bank is predicting continued strong growth, and this will be partly fuelled by its successful application to the Funding for Lending Scheme, which was accepted at the start of 2015.

Mike Kirsopp, Chief Executive at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “Trading conditions during 2014 continued to improve, and whilst a number of new competitors entered into the SME deposit and lending arenas, our strong proposition enabled us to exceed all of our growth targets.

“The quality of our lending business continues to meet our credit appetite, and we continue to lend against assets providing good yield and strong cash flow.”

Paul ffolkes Davis, non-executive chairman at Cambridge & Counties Bank said: “2014 was distinguished as a year of growth for us. We continued to attract a wide variety of customers through our simple, appropriately priced and flexible lending products, and also our range of attractive deposit accounts. This helps explain why our customer satisfaction levels remain in excess of 99% for new clients, and over 98% for those that have been with us for a year or more.”