SMEs still struggling to get access to bank lending


SMEs still struggling to get access to bank lending

Simon Quicke

The Prime Minister might like to talk tough about getting the banks to lend to small businesses but the evidence on the ground is that it is not getting easier to access credit.

Small firms have been victims of tightening credit for two years plus and there had been some hope that a change of government and more focus on the private sector would bring a change in results.

According to the latest findings from the Forum of Private Business the loans and overdrafts  enjoyed by its members have gone down in the first half of this year.

The FPB has challenged the argument made by some lenders that there is not too much latent demand waiting for them to meet.

Only 1% of respondents said access to finance has improved and 15% said it has worsened and 67% have seen no changes in their ability to access to finance.
Most of the cuts to credit came in reductions to overdrafts with some firms being hit by a halving in the amount they could borrow. 
"Contrary to what some of the banks are saying, some firms are still not able to access the finance they need and both business growth and economic recovery is under threat as a result," said the Forum's Head of Policy Matt Goodman.

 "According to our members, demand is certainly there but lenders are not providing the funding or the levels of service that they should be. They are telling us that creeping costs and charges are making finance that is available less accessible."

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