As the economy kicks back into action, it’s not only businesses which are feeling more confident. Opening this latest Bulletin, we look at a number of lenders who are offering increased support to small businesses with new funding pots and enhanced terms.
Have you tried opening a business bank account during the last 12 months? If you have then no doubt it was a frustrating experience. The government seems to think so as well with the launch of a Treasury Select Committee investigation. What are they asking of the High Street banks?
To close, in the latest Lloyds Bank Recovery Tracker further good news about an improvement in business recovery. One sector stands out in seeing the signs of an early bounce back.
Here also is the transcript of this latest Business Finance Bulletin…
Increased access to finance for small businesses; banks questioned about their opening of new bank accounts; and business recovery starting to look strong. All of this in the latest Business Finance Bulletin.
Small Business Finance Support
It the weeks go by and I speak to more and more business owners, there’s one theme that’s constantly coming out and that’s an increased level of confidence. Yes, business owners are feeling a lot more optimistic about the future, and it’s not only business owners who are feeling more confident; it’s also lenders.
Over the last week or so, I’ve seen more lenders coming out and saying that they want to support businesses with increased access to finance. So let’s take a look at a couple of these examples. First up Bibby Financial Services. Bibbys are an invoice finance provider, and they’ve announced the creation of the Pandemic Recovery Fund. They’ve put aside £300 million to support small businesses. This is on the back of a survey they’ve carried out where 66% of small business owners say that they anticipate business being back to pre-COVID levels by September. Obviously all of that increased business brings working capital needs, and that’s where Bibby’s funds comes in.
Next step, is Nucleus Commercial Finance. They’ve announced some tweaks to their Business Growth Loan. Previously, you could have a loan for six months up to a maximum of £25,000. Obviously they are confident about the future, so they’ve now increased that loan term up to 12 months, and you can borrow up to a maximum of £50,000.
Next up, Yorkshire Building Society or YBS Commercial Mortgages. They’ve announced that for their semi-commercial mortgage range they’ve now introduced a 10 year fixed rate. That’s a real sign of confidence they’ve got in the marketplace.
Next up a new lender to the market, Go Business Loans. Go Business Loans have just launched offering limited companies and LLPs loans from £2,500 up to maximum of £20,000. You can apply online and you get notification of the decision within 24 hours. It is great to see a new lender coming into the marketplace, so well done to the team at Go Business Loans.
So overall you can see, it’s not just business owners who are confident about the future; it’s also lenders as well, which is a great signal or a great sign that perhaps better times are around the corner.
Opening a Business Bank Account
Have you tried opening a business bank account over the last 12 months? Well, if you did no doubt it was a highly frustrating experience. The high street banks in particular practically closed their doors to new customers. They just didn’t have the resources and the manpower to cope with the volume of requests for new bank accounts, particularly from sole traders who were trading through a personal account, but realised they needed to have a fully fledged business account in order to qualify for the CBILS and Bounce Back Loans. So as a result, the whole system ground to a halt.
So bad has it been that last week, the Treasury Select Committee actually wrote to a number of the banks being a Barclays, Lloyd’s, Nat West, Metro, Santander and HSBC asking them for comments on their account opening procedures.
They want to know how long does it take to open an account; Have you had any complaints; how you’ve responded to those complaints. Also a killer question, do you intend staying in the small business market?
All of these banks have to reply to the Treasury Select Committee letter by the 19th of May. So it’d be interesting to see what their responses are. I guess the fact that they’ve even received the letter may wake up some of them to think, Hey, we need to get back on track here and make it easy to open a business account. Obviously the economy can’t operate if people don’t have bank accounts, so this is why the government has taken a very keen interest on this.
It will be interesting to see what the response is from the banks and more importantly, what action they’re going to take to make it easier for businesses to open bank accounts.
Business Recovery Improvement
In the first segment of this Bulletin I highlighted that there’s been a definite increase in the feeling of confidence amongst UK small businesses. This has been born out by the latest Lloyds Bank Recovery Tracker. In a review of the 14 sectors that the tracker looks at, 11 of them have said they’ve seen an increase in business in March. In fact, the growth rate has been the highest since September 2020. So we can see there is definitely an increase in levels of activity in the UK economy.
The transport sector particularly, which covers not only logistics, but airlines, rail, and also the bus industry has seen a significant jump in activity. And that’s a really good positive sign that the UK economy is starting to move. So really good news. However, one thing I did cover in the previous bullets in that of course growth brings its own problems and that is access to cash to fuel your working capital need.
So with all of this growth going on, one thing I plead is to make sure that you watch your cashflow. If you need to have access to finance, make sure that you look at all the various options available to you, not just commercial loans, business loans, invoice finance, and asset finance, but also the new Recovery Loan Scheme. All of these are out there designed to support you as you start to grow again.
If you want to chat through any of these finance options, of course, just drop us an email info at businessloanservices.co.uk, and we’ll happily chat through all the various options with you. So great to see that the UK economy is back on the growth path, but watch out for that need for cash.
That’s it for another Bulletin and as ever I hope you enjoyed watching. If you did, please, don’t forget to give it a like, a share and of course, subscribe to this channel.