New British bank Aldermore (LON:ALD) reported a 32 percent jump in profits in the first half of the year, after an increase in lending to small and medium sized businesses.

Profit before tax grew to £78 million, up from £59 million in the first half of 2016. Operating income rose 17 percent to £150 million, with net loans to customers up 8.4 percent to £8.11 billion.

Aldermore, which was founded in 2009 and lends primarily to small and medium-sized businesses, hopes to challenge the dominance of traditional British banks and provide and easier, more modern alternative for those searching for loans. Its approach appears to have paid off during the period, with business finance loans  up 8 percent to £1.9 billion and mortgages  up 9 percent to £6.2 billion.

The group delivered a 19 percent return on equity, up from 16 percent the previous year. Basic earnings per share grew by 45 percent to 14.9p.

Phillip Monks OBE, Chief Executive Officer, said Aldermore had made “excellent progress during the first half of 2017, building on our track record of delivery in loan growth, deposit growth and profitability, leaving us well positioned entering the second half with a strengthened capital position and a strong pipeline of new lending.”

“SMEs play a vital role in the UK’s economic prosperity and we remain focused on helping them access the working capital and investment funding they need to succeed… we continue to serve landlords, first time buyers and the self-employed.

“We are delighted with the performance and strategic progress made so far in 2017. Whilst we remain vigilant to the risks posed by the economic uncertainty facing the UK, continued earnings and balance sheet momentum provide us with greater resilience and position us well to capitalise on further strategic opportunities.”

Shares in Aldermore are currently up 2.81 percent at 227.10 (1053GMT).