Demand for Small Business Borrowing Slips but Success Rates Are Up

The latest ‘Voice of Small Business Index’ from the FSB for Quarter 2 to June 2017, shows that only 14 per cent of small firms applied for external finance in the three months to June.

The FSB commented that the low figures are being driven by lower investment intentions and confidence levels on the back of Brexit and economic uncertainty.

The survey comes out on the back of the latest statistics from UK Finance (the finance industy’s trade body) which revealed that bank lending to businesses fell by £698m in July.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Thumb UpOf the 14% of businesses which said they had applied for finance in the three months to June 2017, the share of those successfully getting a ‘yes’ stood at 74% in the quarter, up from the 71% in the same quarter a year ago.

This also compares very favourably to the 54% seen in Q2 2015. So, the more growth-focused businesses are getting what they want.

The survey also shows that the lending landscape continues to evolve with continued evidence of diversification away from traditional bank lending. Among small businesses that had applied for credit, the share applying for bank loans declined from 39% in Q2 2016 to 23% in Q2 2017.

Where are small businesses going for their finance needs?

The survey reveals that the proportion using asset-based finance, such as invoice financing, has doubled from 17% to 34%.

Our message is that if you are in growth mode, there are plenty of finance options out there.

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