If your high-street bank cannot give you a personal loan, there is a good chance it will pass you on to a broker such as Freedom Finance. The Cheshire company says that about 50% of its business comes from referrals by banks. Rupert Webb founded the company in 1983, and in 2000 an American private-equity firm made a £12.4m investment in return for a 54% stake. Freedom Finance has offices in Sweden and Spain and is launching an outsourced operation in Ireland this year. Its profits rose 140% a year from an annualised £609,000 in 2001 to £8.4m in 2004.
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