Posts Tagged ‘commercial finance’

Why SMEs Won’t Borrow, Arbuthnot Latham Bank, and Business Optimism – BFB Epsd 183

Posted on: September 23rd, 2017 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Business Finance Bulletin

Continuing our review of the findings from the latest SME Finance Monitor report, we look at what is holding small businesses back from borrowing. The survey revealed four reasons why businesses feel uncomfortable in taking on debt.

Whilst many businesses think that lenders are reluctant to support businesses, one bank is actively looking to assist growing business. Arbuthnot Latham Bank has recently opened an office in Bristol as an addition to their office in Exeter, to cover the South West and we take a peek at how they can help businesses with their commercial finance requirements.

Finally, we review the latest FSB Small Business Index survey which highlights that small businesses are feeling much less confident that they were a year ago. What is holding them back?

If you would prefer to listen to the podcast version you can click below or download to listen to later via our Soundcloud, Stitcher or itunes channel.

Business Finance Bulletin Epsd 34 Late Payment & Cashflow, Spot Finance and Selling Equity

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Business Finance Bulletin

In the latest episode of the Business Finance Bulletin Rob Warlow examines an issue that keeps many small business owners awake at night… late payment and poor cashflow. Rob looks at a recent survey which reveals how painful the task of chasing late payers can be.

One way to solve cashflow problems is to unlock the cash trapped in a business and Rob shares a relatively new financial solution to this problem which is spot financing.

And in the Business Finance Tip of the Week, a clip from a live seminar Rob delivered at a Kevin Green property and wealth creation weekend hosted in Amsterdam. In this clip Rob talks about raising growth capital via selling equity and how it can benefit a business.

Business Finance Bulletin Epsd 32: Commercial Finance Expo 2014 Special

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Business Finance Bulletin

This is a special edition of the Business Finance Bulletin which was filmed on Wednesday at the 2014 Commercial Finance Expo at the NEC Birmingham.

This annual event is hosted by the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers and attracts key lenders and commercial finance brokers from across the country.

With the alternative finance scene continually changing I had a chance to chat with the likes of Funding Knight, Lancashire Mortgage Corporation, PensionLedFunding, Pay4 and Funding Circle to find out more about how they are supporting businesses which are in need of finance.

It is good to see that the number of lenders in the market continues to grow so watch this week’s edition to hear what these lenders are up to and how they could possibly help you.

If you want to discuss your particular needs we’d be happy to have a chat – just drop us an email.

I mustn’t forget… a special thanks to BLS team member Steve Taylor for being cameraman for the day!


Video: Brush Up on Your Financial Skills

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Posted on 27.12.2013, by Rob Warlow

In this clip, taken from a Kevin Green seminar run in Amsterdam recently, a look at why now is the new normal when it comes to raising finance and how you may need to brush up on your finance skills.

RBS to Tackle its Poor Lending Practices

Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Posted on 04.11.2013, by Rob Warlow

Back in July in this blog we reported that RBS decided to request an independent review of its lending practices with the objective being to enable RBS to enhance its support for SMEs while maintaining safe and sound lending practices. With the review having been carried out the findings reveal that RBS and its subsidiary Nat West has much to do in overhauling its lending processes.

The investigation, headed by former Bank of England Deputy Governor Andrew Large concluded that RBS has not supported the SME sector in a way that meets its own targets or the expectations of its customers. It says that while RBS has started to address a number of the issues raised, further progress is needed.

The report identified a number of reasons for RBS failing to hit its lending targets, including:

RBS’s SME lending targets were at odds with its tougher credit standards, and the limits imposed on lending to certain sectors, for example lending to commercial real estate
Internal restructuring had led to lack of clarity as to which part of the bank was responsible for SME lending
There is a ‘risk adverse’ culture amongst its Managers and Credit Officers
The bank’s lending process is time consuming and loan applications take longer than at other banks
Credit skills of customer-facing staff, although improving, are not up to standard

Having an independent committee pull apart your business and highlighting areas of weakness is a tough message to take but RBS CEO Ross McEwan has accepted the findings and recommendations and has committed to take action. Looking at the findings I suspect that other High Street banks are guilty of many of these sins.

McEwan has committed RBS to the following key actions amongst others:

The bank will write to thousands more SMEs setting out clearly how much it is willing to lend to their business. It has already offered £4 billion of lending opportunities following a similar exercise earlier this year;
A dedicated website will be developed to show clearly what information RBS use to make a lending decision and set out simple, clear steps in its lending process;
The bank will begin work to enable bankers to make all but the most complex lending decisions in just five days of receipt of all necessary information;
RBS will ensure two thirds of its lending decisions are made locally and by sector specialists;
RBS will continue to invest in building the capability of its people with at least 90% of Relationship Managers and Credit Managers professionally qualified;
RBS will start a programme to make all customers whose loan applications are declined aware of the appeals process, and will continue to work with the Independent Appeals Chair to improve the support it provides to customers going though this process; and,
The bank will commit to pointing businesses to alternative sources of finance where it cannot support a loan application.

This is a big undertaking and RBS will on an annual basis publicly report on progress against these commitments. It will be interesting to see how they fare in addressing these issues given the mammoth task ahead of them.

Banks and Business Owners Need to Better Understand Each Other

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by blsuser1 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Posted on 01.11.2013, by Rob Warlow

If you’re in business today then there is no getting away from the message being heavily promoted that ‘banks aren’t lending’ or ‘banks are not interested in supporting small businesses’.

As with all messages, there are always two sides to the story. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have consistently argued that both banks and business owners have equally responsibility in making changes to get to that all too elusive ‘yes’.

The need for both sides to see each other’s point of view has been highlighted in a new piece of research carried out by chartered accountancy firm Kingston Smith LLP in conjunction with the Business Schools of the Universities of Surrey and Greenwich.

The research ‘Bank finance – lost in translation’ reveals a number of key misunderstandings between banks and SMEs which effectively put up barriers when to comes to lending to SMEs.

The findings of the research were based on face-to-face interviews with the senior lending policy makers at five major and challenger high street banks, as well as interviews and focus groups with SME owner/managers, so a well-balanced panel.

The report came up with four key findings.

SMEs’ perceptions of banks’ lending policies are more negative than they need to be

Since the start of the credit crunch the media has been very vocal about the banks’ perceived failure to lend and it’s clear that many business owners have been put off applying for finance because they assume they will be declined.

This negative assumption has been regularly highlighted in the quarterly SME Finance Report and the findings in this latest research confirm this perception is very much alive.

In previous blogs I have said that business owners can’t look back at the past and longingly hope for a return to those days when credit freely flowed. It’s just not going to happen – now is the new normal.

As in any aspect of running a business, persistence is the key. If you are knocked back, find out why, learn from it and make the necessary adjustments to your Business Plan and proposal.

SMEs would benefit from greater clarity regarding banks’ loan application processes

The research found that many SMEs are unaware of, and don’t understand, banks’ loan application requirements.

This finding is focused mainly on access to information on what banks want to see in order to process a finance request. Bank websites on ‘how to apply for a business loan’ were found to vary in effectiveness and ease of navigation thereby putting another barrier in the way of doing business.

SMEs are often unaware of banks’ lending criteria

Perhaps not unsurprisingly SMEs feel that the bank’s loan request assessment process is a black art, something of which they have little understanding.

For example many SMEs are unaware that banks expect them to invest in their own businesses and make a contribution to an overall project cost by injecting a percentage of the funds required. This ‘partnering in the risk’ extends to the provision of some form of security for the loan, whether that be property or director’s personal guarantees.

SMEs also need to be more aware that some banks favour one sector whilst another is less keen to lend into that industry. Where does your bank sit in relation to your sector?

The banks interviewed said they only make loans to SMEs which are considered to be commercially viable and SMEs can improve their chances by demonstrating both a convincing business idea and financial acumen.

The lack of understanding about how banks thinks has been a central theme is all my blogs and videos and was the key reason why I wrote ‘Loan Sharp: Get the Business Finance You Need’.

As in any negotiation, to be successful you need to understand how the other side thinks.

Subsequent to the loan decision, banks’ feedback and support offered to SMEs is often unclear and inadequate

The report is not totally biased towards the banks; one area of criticism levelled at the banks is how they feedback a ‘no’ decision. Whilst the banks said they do provide reasons as to why they are not supporting a request the general consensus amongst business owners was that this is not the case.

I have certainly seen examples of this and banks certainly do need to be more specific in why they are declining a request for finance. If vague reasons are given then it’s more challenging for the business owner to make the necessary changes to convert the ‘no’ to a ‘yes’.

The recommendations coming out of this piece of research is an excellent summary of what both SMEs and banks can do to come closer together.

SMEs should:

Banks should:

Policy makers should:


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