Businesses are turning their backs on banks as they embrace alternative finance


Whilst bank lending to the capital’s SMEs has plummeted 40 per cent in the space of just a year, companies based in London raised an estimated £350 million through peer-to-peer lending in 2015.

Figures released by the British Bankers’ Association show that the value of all newly approved loans and overdrafts to London SMEs in the third quarter of 2015 was down 40 per cent on 2014 totals, from £1.7 billion to just over £1 billion.

The average SME has now less than £20,000 borrowed from their bank – a record low. In 2011 the average London business had £28,000 borrowed from their bank.

Roz O’Brien is the Company Director of Pixel Projects, a technology business born and based in London. They provide cutting edge audio visual installations to the world’s largest internet companies.

“Working with banks can be a slower, cumbersome process; and that doesn’t always suit our business model”, said O’Brien. “The tech sector works quickly and efficiently, it’s a fast-paced environment; and our funding setup needs to reflect that. We can’t wait on a banks’ response to a funding application.”

Pixel Projects have raised over £9 million worth of project funding through peer-to-peer lender MarketInvoice. “It’s helped our business grow faster than we otherwise could have – we get funds quickly, as they’re needed”, said O’Brien.

“It feels only natural for us to embrace new technologies in how we finance our business,” O’Brien added. “It’s clear that the world of finance is changing, and tech companies like us should be the first to embrace this change.”

Anil Stocker, CEO & Co-founder of MarketInvoice commented: “Banks have grown increasingly reluctant to lend to SMEs, who see business lending as high risk, low return practise. Approvals for loans and overdrafts have been hard to come by – despite direct government incentives such as the Funding for Lending Scheme.”

“At the same time the city’s businesses have recognised peer-to-peer lending as a better, more efficient way of financing their growth. We’re supporting a lot of the fastest growing companies in the capital – dependable cashflow is rocket fuel for these businesses.”