Lending to SMBs rises for first time in almost 2 years

Thursday 2 May 2013

City of London

Net lending to UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) increased by £239 million in March 2013, it has been reported.

Latest figures from the Bank of England pointed to the first net increase in lending since August 2011 - which is good news for entrepreneurs trying to grow a business.

Lines of credit have been constrained in recent years, making it difficult for SMBs to secure the external funding they need to grow and develop.

But the latest figures offer hope to people working in the sector that the banks are starting to recognise the important role they have to play in the UK's economic recovery.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said it is "encouraging" that lending to small businesses rose slightly in March.

However, he claimed that UK firms are "clearly operating in a challenging credit environment", despite the increase in available finance.

"The new-look Funding for Lending Scheme must work to rectify this and ensure that the money reaches fast-growing and relatively new firms, who continue to struggle to secure the credit they need," Mr Longworth stated.

He proposed that this is part of "a wider problem" around business finance.

"There has been a lot of talk around the Business Bank but it must be delivered with the sort of urgency and scale required for it to be a true player, and not a pretender, in the lending market," Mr Longworth urged.

"While not competing with commercial banks, the Business Bank should work towards plugging the gap in access to higher risk finance that so many firms are unable to cross.”

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Posted by Steve Williams