SME Access to Finance report shows improvements


A third of SMEs still do not secure the funding they need, according to Adam Tyler, executive chairman of FIBA.

Adam, in his role as director and chairman of the Access to Finance committee of SME lobbying group, The Genesis Initiative, was presenting a report and survey titled ‘Improving Access to Finance for UK SMEs’. The invited audience included MPs and Peers, UK Finance, the British Business Bank, Heads of SME Groups and lenders to business and was held in the House of Commons last week.

Underpinning the report, the biggest survey of SMEs and specialist lenders ever undertaken was designed to find out their views on what needed to be done in terms of improving access, awareness and building confidence.

Among its findings:-

  • More than half of small business owners (52.5%) approach their high street bank first, despite the growth in alternative sources.
  • But just under half (46%) who applied to their banks were declined
  • Half of those who were declined then chose to look no further for funding believing that there were no other avenues to explore.
  • Asked why they had given up looking, SME owners cited accessibility, lack of understanding and confidence in lenders they had not heard of, as contributory factors
  • 31% believed fees and/or interest rates charged by non-high street lenders would be too high. 26% were not confident of lenders that were non-mainstream and 11% were concerned about the longevity of new lenders.

29% of lenders agreed that unfamiliarity with them and their service were reasons why SMEs did not contact them, while 22% believed that business owners did not know how to contact them.

Adam Tyler commented, “As can be seen from the results of the survey, although progress has been made, the stark facts are that much more needs to be done to improve the visibility of and access to non-high street lenders. Building confidence is of paramount importance and that can only be achieved through education and increasing awareness, both of the lenders and the different ways they can deliver the right finance packages, which is where the broking community can continue to provide a vital role.

We are seeking to find an encompassing solution and this report delivers a unique insight into small business lending at a critical time, as we hope to conclude the national debate on our future trading relationships with countries around the world.