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Santander and Zenith forge leasing partnership

Date: 28 May 2010   |   Author:

Santander Corporate Banking has joined with Zenith Provecta to launch a contract hire, vehicle funding and vehicle management proposition to the banking giant's business customers.

Santander, which encompasses the former Alliance & Leicester and Abbey brands familiar in the UK, will provide the funding, while Zenith offers "all other aspects of a fully integrated fleet solution", according to a joint statement from the two firms. Services on offer will include contract hire, contract purchase, sale and leaseback and self-funded contract hire, as well as vehicle management across maintenance, accident, risk, legacy, daily rental and grey fleet.

"With the number of corporate banking customers we have, for us not to have that product was criminal. We were letting other banking providers come in and work with our customers," said Jason Proctor, head of vehicle and fleet for Santander Asset Finance. "For us not to have a contract hire offering was a big gap in our suite. This product will go from strength to strength."

Proctor was keen to emphasise that this isn't Santander's move into the wider contract hire market, but rather an additional service to fill a gap with existing customers. "We won't go out and sell contract hire to all and sundry. It's a product to sell to both corporate and potential corporate customers."

Zenith chief executive Andrew Cope called the deal a "fantastic organic growth opportunity", having finally launched the programme that has been more than 12 months in incubation. "It's given us access to a market we wouldn't have had access to, with the funding there for matching corporate offers," said Cope. "We have significant growth aspirations. For us it's a more ambitious long-term development of organic growth strategy - thousands [of cars] over time."

Commenting on the agreement, Mike Oxby, director at Santander Asset Finance, said: "The fleet market is undergoing significant upheaval, due to some of the larger leasing companies rationalising their operations and capital constraint issues for smaller independent companies; therefore the timing of our new dual-branded proposition could not be better."

Paul Barker