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On the BBC Radio 5 Live morning show, Victoria Derbyshire hosted a segment on small business finance, asking SME owners and the self-employed to share their experiences of bank lending. The discussion was inspired by comments from Business Secretary Vince Cable. Introducing the segment, Victoria comments:
"In a speech this morning, he [Vince Cable] said that there had been a 'remorseless decline in lending and has told banks they must reveal how much money they have been giving out in business loans."
Understandably, the discussion was a lively one. Below, we've highlighted the three key statements mentioned by callers to the show.
The uncertainty in the UK economy is a big concern for SMEs
Steve Bowles, owner of a haulage company in Slough, employs 50 people. He described business as 'tough and getting tougher.' While Steve's business borrows against its assets - 40 trucks - he explains that small businesses are faced with the leap of faith when deciding whether to borrow as a result of the economic climate in the UK.
Banks do not offer a transparent application process
Richard Ellis, owner of Silhouette Frame in High Wycombe, went to seven banks for funding. He was rejected for finance on six occasions because his business did not fit the borrowing criteria.
"Most doors were slammed in my face…They were so rude. They didn't say [why the business didn't fit their criteria]. The banks need to have a little more trust. "
Richard's comments reflect those from dozens of SMEs. The experiences of applying for finance from Barburrito founder Morgan Davies, recorded in October's Telegraph Festival of Business, are embedded below:
The decline of personalised banking
Nick founded a Leeds architectural practice in 2009. His thoughts on the decline of personalised banking reflect many of the comments we hear from SME owners across the UK. He comments:
"Business banks are dying in terms of the quality of service they can offer to their business customers. We've had three relationship managers who purported to understand our business and act in our interest. Each one has been slightly worse than the last in terms of the knowledge of our business and what we need to make the business work. "
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