Newport-based independent lender Henry Howard Finance has qualified for the 2016 Wales Fast Growth 50 list after lending to more than 2,500 SMEs in the first half of the year alone.

Now in its 18th year, the 2016 Wales Fast Growth 50 awards celebrate the fastest-growing firms in Wales.

HHF has been shortlisted for the fastest growing Welsh firm in professional and financial services for 2016.

The lender, which has its office at Langstone Business Park, has seen record growth since 2014 when it received a £25m investment from Cabot Square Capital allowing it to increase its lending capacity and restructure into four divisions, HH Vendor, HH Asset, HH Cashflow and HH Retail Finance.

The company is forecast to lend more than £100m this year, up from £75m last year and £40m in 2014.

HHF now employs more than 100 people, a growth of 60 per cent over 18 months and has a string of awards to its name including Leasing World’s Vendor Specialist of the Year 2015.

It has a portfolio of more than £150m which includes more than 20,000 different UK-based businesses.

Mark Crook, co-founder and chief operating officer at HHF, said: “We’re really pleased to qualify for the Fast Growth 50 list, which is testament to the hard work of all our team.

“There is a wealth of talent within the Welsh business sector, and we are proud to be recognised as a part of it. We look forward to continued growth throughout 2017.”

The announcement comes after HHF announced a new £51m asset finance facility with the British Business Bank allowing a further extension of funding to SMEs. The company also recently extended its block discounting facility with the Hampshire Trust Bank from £5m to £8m, providing a boost to lending capacity.

The Fast Growth 50 awards will be held at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Cardiff on October 21.