It is very welcome to be able to share a bit of good news on the SME funding front for a change!
The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) reported last month that SME lending had posted strong month-on-month growth in September, with a total of £1.25bn being lent to small firms. This represents a solid 55% growth from the year before.
This is a healthy development for sure and welcomed by all.
However, many of the underlying problems remain. As the NACFB point out in their research, there are still a full 50% of business loan applicants being rejected for bank support. The research also indicates that a significant majority of those refused funding do not go on and apply elsewhere.
As noted in my previous blogs, this is in effect a drag on growth. Lost potential.
The NACFB continues to promote alternative funding options and, given the success of their latest initiative – Love Lending Week #lovelending – there is a real appetite from business owners to learn more about their options, either before or after their visit to the bank.
While the wheels of government turn slowly, I am happy to report that our initiative in this area, the alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk portal continues to gather pace and I hope that I will have more exciting news on this soon.
Readers of my regular blog articles might recognise several themes that I tend to re-visit fairly regularly.
Transparency, choice and collaboration are the most important of these themes and all carry more importance as the SME finance market changes with the triple effects of attitudinal shifts, government intervention and technology advances.
As a result of our ground-breaking initiative to promote alternative business funding through the web portal, alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk, I have come to understand that the positive effects of collaboration cannot be ignored.
There are plenty of corny motivational slogans extolling the virtues of “pulling together” and informing us that we are “stronger together”, but the conversation needn’t be hi-jacked by the fluffy, feel-good connotations of collaboration.
No, this is really about sound business logic and good commercial outcomes.
Distributing risk and reward, sharing due-diligence and providing creative choices to clients are not promises for the future. This is happening now.
The hegemony of the late 20th century banking system is being dismantled by regulation and commercial necessity. Such has been the dominance of this model that an inevitable vacuum has been created.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
It is my opinion that this vacuum will be filled by an array of options, some not even developed yet, and initiatives such as the alternativebusinessfinding.co.uk portal will enable the transparency and choice I believe business owners crave.