SME Wishlist for New Bank of England Governor

Small business interests rally together to create an SME wishlist for the incoming Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney.

Mark Carney - Image copyright Bank of England 2013Today CashFlows, the independent business banking provider, has spearheaded an open letter calling on Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England, to do more for the small business banking sector.

Mark Carney takes up the post on Monday 1st July as the outgoing Governor, Sir Mervyn King, makes way for the ex-Governor of the Bank of Canada.

The open letter, published with 14 co-signatories, being small business owners, trade associations and small business publications, takes the form of an "SME wishlist" and outlines the key issues affecting the small business community in the UK today.

Ranking high amongst the concerns on the SME wishlist is the lack of access to finance for small businesses.

Tellingly though, this is not the only issue faced by Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses. Also on the list are late payments and ongoing problems with modern day bankers and government officials failing to understand what small businesses need.

Indeed, in his last appearance before the Treasury Select Committee, Sir Mervyn King complained that mainstream banks had been lobbying the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to get the newly-formed Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to "ease off" regarding statements saying that the banks needed to work harder to recapitalise and stabilise.

The 15 signatories have written asking Mark Carney to take into account the following recommendations for his first 100 days in office:

  1. Ensure better promotion of alternative financial service providers and support outlets – and encourage the FCA to review and recognise these new players
  2. Promote the return of direct relationship management between banks and businesses, encouraging continuous and personalised guidance relevant to a business’ evolving needs
  3. Make the Prompt Payment Code legally binding
  4. Enforce transparency in bank charging and scoring structures
  5. Talk to 100 start ups in 100 days in order to better understand the needs of British small businesses and the support they require

Neil Graham, CEO of CashFlows, said:

“Despite recent signs of recovery, the UK economy remains shackled by the effects of recession – and British small businesses are amongst the worst affected. Yet the existing banking system is doing little to provide financial business support at this time of need. Banking fee systems remain complicated and banks, which once had dedicated small business bank managers, are no longer able to provide meaningful advice to business customers. While access to capital is important, there is much more that can be done to improve the banking services experienced by small business owners.”

“This letter is a call to action to the new Bank of England Governor to make these much needed changes to the small business banking market.”

is4profit’s Managing Director, Brian Jack, added:

“Trust has changed greatly in light of the financial crisis, as it does in every recession. Relationships between banks and businesses are adversely affected. This recession is different though in that for the first time businesses are wondering if money left in their banks will still be there the following day. This recession has shaken the whole of business sector and the damage is taking long time to repair. That said there has been better news in recent months, with some reported green shoots from parties who are well placed to judge. Things have generally been flat – but we’re all looking for signs of confidence! Of course, statistics are always backwards looking so that affects confidence and is a self-perpetuating circle. We need a run of improved growth: that will improve confidence, businesses will then make decisions they’ve been putting off and they will be able to move forwards.”

The full letter, including quotes from contributors, can be seen at: and for the twitter conversation, follow the hashtag #SMEwishlist

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