Bank Roadshows Help Small Businesses Access Finance
Business owners can find out how to make the strongest case for a loan, following the launch of a series of regional roadshows by the Business Finance Taskforce.
The Better Business Finance initiative was originally announced in October 2010 by the taskforce, which is led by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and includes the main six high street banks. The initiative is part of its commitment to improve small businesses’ access to bank finance and advice.
The first free “outreach event” took place in Sheffield this month, where local businesses took part in workshops and a panel discussion. Similar events are due to follow in all the UK’s major cities, listed on the Better Business Finance events page.
BBA spokeswoman, Lesley McLeod, said that the initiative shows the banks’ support for small businesses. Recent Companies House figures showed that the number of secure loans granted to businesses was 46 per cent lower in 2010 than in 2007.
“We collected data here at the BBA which showed that lending was actually holding up and in some cases increasing.”
“We wanted to go up and down the country and do these roadshows because we thought if we can’t get people through the door, the best way was to go and meet them.”
The taskforce is also preparing to put together a mentoring programme, to give small businesses one-to-one advice on getting their application for lending accepted.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spokeswoman, Sara Lee, said that the initiative showed that the banks were willing to try to understand small businesses.
“The roadshows are probably going to be quite useful as they will allow real businesses to talk to the banks directly rather than it being anecdotal and coming through the business groups. We and the other business groups have done a lot of work with the taskforce and it has our backing.”