The majority of SMEs want to see bank lenders commit to them for the long-term and convey a genuine sense of partnership, according to new research from Hitachi Capital’s British Business Barometer.
Currently, 34 per cent of small businesses say they feel disconnected from banks and a further 32 per cent said that the financial services industry needed to show a greater willingness to lend money to support their growth.
Hitachi Capital Business Finance asked 1,006 small business owners what they believed banks and the financial services industry could do to better support their growth ambitions. Along with a stronger partnership approach and more proactivity with lending, UK SMEs also mentioned they would like to see more transparent fees and charges (28 per cent).
Top three things banks and the financial services industry could do better to support small businesses and their growth aspirations are a genuine feeling of partnership/ long-term commitment (34 per cent), greater willingness to lend (32 per cent) and more transparent fees and charges (28 per cent).
While there are other regional factors at play, such as those in the East of England that would like banks to have more specialist sector knowledge (30 per cent), the top three issues were prevalent across all UK regions. Other issues that were raised included flexible finance terms that can be tailored to suit the business (26 per cent) and more competitive lending rates (26 per cent).
Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, thinks that in recent years, high street lenders have had to overcome a breakdown in trust but our research, like the Christmas Carol tale, has a potentially positive end to the story.
Wraith-Carter adds, ‘Despite the concerns that small businesses have felt towards banks and lenders, they do want a relationship and a financial partner that will commit to the journey with them. This is a positive mandate for positive, mutual relationship building.
‘What is important for small business owners to be aware of is that there are more funding choices and options available to them than just their local high street lender. Hitachi Capital Business Finance champion SMEs, we have increased our funding options and specialise in a range of tailored solutions that work hard for small and medium sized enterprises. We are open for business and we invest in building the long term relationships that SMEs so clearly want.’