Banks turn away over half of SMEs - Business Works
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Banks turn away over half of SMEs

Simon Carter, Director, Touch Financial More than half of small businesses in the last six months have been refused funding by their bank, with a third given no justification or explanation for how the decision was made.

In a new survey, conducted by Touch Financial, almost two thirds (59%) of businesses questioned had applied for additional funding, such as a bank loan or an overdraft, at some time in the past six months. Incredibly, almost the same number (55%) had seen their application declined.

In addition, a third of those refused (31%) were given no reason by their bank as to why their application for finance had been unsuccessful. Furthermore, four in five (80%) of those businesses refused bank funding were not given any information on alternative sources of funding.

Touch Financial commissioned the survey to expose the current absence of adequate funding provision for SMEs and the impact on business confidence. The results have confirmed that an overwhelming majority of small businesses do not feel supported by the UK banks, while almost all agree that the Government could and should be doing more to help.

55% of SMEs seeking a loan from their banks have been declined and 31% given no reason

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in answer to the question ‘Do you believe that banks are supporting small businesses?’ more than four in five (81%) of businesses responded 'No'. Simon Carter, Director of Touch Financial, is concerned that the help that the Government has promised has not been forthcoming, "Any business, regardless of size or sector, should be given access to finance, if not through 'traditional' bank lending, then via a number of alternative funding solutions that are available," he says.

When asked ‘Is the Government doing enough to support small businesses?’ only 2% responded 'Yes; more than half (56%) of respondents answered 'No' and the remaining 46% answered ‘Could do better’. Moreover, when asked about their awareness of a number of Government and bank-led initiatives, more than two in five (42%) had never heard of any of them; the highest awareness was for Start Up Loans, which only a third (33%) of respondents had come across.

"Small businesses simply aren’t getting the information and the support that they need if they are to be the primary engine for growth as the Government has suggested," Simon concludes. "SMEs are in danger of being left up the proverbial creek and being told there are no more paddles."

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