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Secure Trust shares jump on better-than-expected earnings

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(Reuters) – Secure Trust Bank Plc said on Wednesday its earnings for the first four months of the year were slightly ahead of its expectations, but warned that smaller businesses were delaying some transactions as they wait for clarity over Brexit.

Shares in the lender were 4.8% higher at 1,510 pence at 1310 GMT.

Secure Trust, the former retail bank of Arbuthnot Banking Group PLC, said its consumer customers were being helped by low inflation, record employment and rising earnings.

“The short term economic outlook has improved but remains uncertain. As a result the Bank will continue to adopt a cautious stance in respect of its credit risk appetite,” the lender said in a statement.

Secure Trust said in January that it would look to stop taking on new residential mortgages in the face of stiff competition and a cooling housing market in Britain.

The country’s housing market has been battered since Britain decided to leave the European Union in 2016, and that had also pressured mortgage prices, with tighter regulations on lending criteria pushing smaller lenders out of business.

Secure Trust, founded in 1952 in the English West Midlands, offers savings accounts and lends to individuals and businesses.

The bank said non-bank lenders had cited difficulties in obtaining or renewing credit lines and had cut or stopped lending, resulting in record levels of monthly new business volumes in motor finance and retail finance in April for Secure Trust.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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