Manchester SMEs most likely in country to go somewhere other than a bank to fund their businesses


A new survey of 222 businesses in the North West has revealed that 43% of Mancunian businesses would consider going somewhere other than a bank for their finance, up from 27% in 2018 and 7% above the nation as a whole.

Furthermore, the broader region isn’t far behind Manchester, with 39% of all North Western SMEs also having considered alternative finance over traditional banks, while the national average was only 35%.

The insights come from a new survey conducted by business finance provider Growth Street. The firm canvassed more than 2,000 employees and directors of British SMEs in January 2019, following up from its inaugural survey in 2018.

As hundreds of millions of RBS competition fund pounds are distributed to challenger banking brands, Growth Street’s findings shine a light on the positive impact on alternative finance for SMEs in the growing Northern business community.

Growth Street’s survey also highlights respondents’ healthy knowledge of alternative finance solutions. The North West, which recorded 72% knowledge of non-bank finance solutions, is well ahead of the rest of the UK, which only registered 66%.

And this figure is on the rise: last year only 58% of Mancunians had at least some knowledge of alternative finance, while this year the figure soared to 73%. This exceeds London respondents, of whom 71% had some knowledge.

Across the UK more broadly, people’s understanding of alternative finance options is shown to be on the increase. 34% of respondents said that they were not at all confident in their knowledge of non-bank funding, significantly fewer than the 45% of respondents who attested to the same lack of knowledge in 2018. 66% of respondents had at least some knowledge of finance outside of banks, up from 54% in 2018.

Greg Carter, Growth Street CEO, comments:

“With big initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse, it is no surprise that the North West is catching up London across the board surrounding alternative finance. Manchester is the most likely to go somewhere other than a bank in the whole of the UK, and the rest of the region isn’t lagging far behind.

“Though banks are still the first port of call for SME businesspeople in the North West for their finance, if non-banking finance providers can build trust and continue to achieve meaningful partnerships with traditional banks, the figure will rise.”