Lending Clinics Boost Small Firms’ Access to Finance

Small firms seeking bank finance can access free advice on successful loan applications, following the launch of a series of lending clinics by Barclays.

During the sessions, business owners will be able to get advice on how to best prepare for a loan application and find out about alternative sources of finance such as angel funding.

The events, part of a campaign designed to give businesses the confidence to borrow, will be run by senior banking staff as well as representatives from business organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

More than 85 of the free clinics are planned around the UK throughout October and November in locations including London, Glasgow, Leicester and Southampton. They are open to non-Barclays customers and most will be held on weekday evenings between 5pm and 6pm.

Antony Jenkins, Barclays chief executive retail and business banking, said the lending clinics will “take the mystery out of borrowing for thousands of businesses”.

According to Phil McCabe, spokesman for the Forum of Private Business, the events would help give small businesses a clearer idea of the finance options available to them.

“For too long, we’ve heard how high street banks aren’t lending to small firms, and many fear that they have become alienated by mainstream lenders.”

“These clinics will help to bridge the understanding gap by giving guidance to business owners and hopefully improve access to funding for small firms.”

Just 15 per cent of small and medium-sized firms had applied for bank lending over the past 12 months according to a recent poll. Less than half of those (42 per cent) said they would feel confident about making a successful loan application, despite 66 per cent of firms actually being approved, BDRC Continental’s SME Finance Monitor found.

Business owners interested in attending the lending clinics should ring 0845 124 6501 to register.

Lending Clinics Boost Small Firms Access to Finance

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