- Specialist bank PCF reported a 22% fall in first-half profit following a jump in impairment losses amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March decreased to £2.6m, down from £3.3m on-year.

Impairment losses on financial assets rose to £3.1m, up from £1.2m, offsetting a 26% rise in operating income to £12.7m.

Since the end of the financial year, PCF said the pandemic had caused an immediate decrease in demand for its products.

Lending volumes had slumped by 52% against target in April and May, with the business finance division most affected.

Customer forbearance worth £138m had been granted as at 29 May, representing 34% of the company's lending book by value.

PCF did not declare an interim dividend.

'Notwithstanding the seriousness of the current situation, I would like to emphasise that PCF is well equipped for the challenges ahead,' chief executive Scott Maybury said.

'We were able to implement our business continuity plan both quickly and effectively.'

'In addition, our leadership team and many of our employees have experience of three previous recessions and are determined to bring PCF through in a strong position.'

'Albeit at lower levels, we are continuing to write new loans to support consumers and businesses across the UK and will continue to be 'open for business''.

'In addition, we are working productively with borrowers who are facing financial difficulties to help find solutions for them, and we are confident that this ongoing, committed customer service will help PCF prosper as the economic picture improves.'

At 9:06am: [LON:PCF] PCF Group PLC share price was -1p at 20p

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