Relationship Manager commentary: Scott HutchinsonAnnouncements Published: June 2, 2021 10:03 am
As life starts to return to some sort of ‘normality’, it is encouraging to see how many businesses are starting to bounce back. After what has been a busy start to the year, working with customers old and new on a variety of exciting projects, I wanted to reflect on the past few months of activity to show just how far we have come from the uncertainty experienced this time last year.
Pharmacy has undoubtedly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, been one of the busiest sectors over the last six months. Community pharmacies have proven a vital asset to local high streets, young entrepreneurs are entering the market, and established business owners are becoming more innovative in the services their practices can offer.
So far this year, I have supported five first-time buyers with pharmacy acquisitions across Scotland, from the villages of Crail, Killearn and Balfron, to the towns of Blackridge and Aberlour. In addition to this, I secured a refinance and development package for Lomond Pharmacy in Fife, whose imminent relocation to new premises will allow further expansion of services within its community. It’s extremely rewarding to be creating opportunities for first-time owners who represent the next generation of pharmacists, and supporting the development of independent, grass-roots pharmacies.
St Leonards Dental Group, which comprises of three practices across East Kilbride, Bannockburn and Airdrie, has also chosen to refinance with Unity, having realised how closely our values are aligned and recognising the enhanced level of support we can offer in comparison to other high street lenders. I’m proud to work with these organisations and individuals, who are providing critical front-line services, and delivering a tangible impact within their communities.
It has been great working with Lyndsay Grant from the Little Learners nursery group once again, supporting her with a refinance package that will allow the business to create local employment and training opportunities, in addition to enhancing the outdoor learning facilities at its two nurseries in Edinburgh and Airdrie.
The pandemic will have had its greatest impact on those in the earliest stages of their development, so it is brilliant to know that Little Learners will have the resources to provide meaningful, nurturing and enriching social and educational experiences for children in their care. This is also why I’m committed to supporting early years care providers this year, and look forward to increasing Unity’s impact in this sector.
In the coming months, I expect to see increasing demand within the care home sector, prompted by the success of the UK vaccination drive at the start of the year. Now that restrictions are easing, many providers will be playing catch-up to refurbish, maintain and upgrade rooms and shared facilities, in addition to expanding service provisions, creating job opportunities and acquiring new sites.
The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to develop certain aspects of care homes, to protect residents and limit any future transition of viruses – for example, the creation of isolation rooms. The sector is also seeing technological advancements in equipment, which will enhance the level of service provisions and accessibility. We will be ready to support customers as they introduce these developments, enabling the highest-quality care for service users.
When Unity Trust Bank’s end of year results were announced in March, it was incredible to see how, as a team, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to providing sustainable and responsible finance. In addition to the continued growth of my own portfolio, the wider business reported record increases in net lending (+26%) and customer deposits (+29%) – a fantastic achievement for the bank and our combined efforts to be a force for good.
It is always astounding to see the level of impact that continues to be delivered by Unity’s teams across regions, sectors and communities, but our support over recent months has been invaluable for many customers. After a busy and positive start to the year, and a remarkable shift in recent market activity, I’m looking forward to getting back out, meeting new customers and working further to support businesses across Scotland in the months ahead.
Please do get in touch with me if you’d like to find out more about Unity Trust Bank, and how we could support your business: [email protected]
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