‘Banks are not supportive,’ say SMEs

Bank managers are among the least trusted group to approach when owner-managers are seeking financial advice, according to research from Close Invoice Finance.

Some 42 per cent of small businesses say they would turn to their accountant for help, followed by fellow business owners (35 per cent). While just 30 per cent say they would ask their bank manager for support, an increase from 20 per cent last year.

Graeme Marsh, managing director of personal fitness business Aegis Training, says: ‘I find the banks really unhelpful. Even getting someone to sit down and go through your finances can be very difficult. And in terms of getting funding, it’s still very much a case of computer says no with them.

‘I imagine they probably have spent a lot of money on PR over the last year. But I don’t believe they are friendly to small businesses, particularly as they place huge charges on lending arrangements that they wouldn’t dream of doing on consumer accounts.’

The research suggests that the size of a business affects where it goes for advice. Just one in four SMEs employing up to 50 people said they would approach the banks in comparison to over 42 per cent of larger small businesses (101-250 employees).

According to business advisory firm Clifton Asset Management, any thaw in bank lending is being offset by a raft of new stealth charges.

See also: Why SMEs still face challenges to access finance from banks

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