Lack of trust in banks is hampering SME growth

Although the latest survey provided some welcome news with the availability of credit to businesses rising for the first time in a year, the pressures facing firms remain significant, particularly among smaller businesses. While overall credit availability rose in the quarter, the amount offered to small firms was significantly below the quantity available to larger scale businesses.

“It is also unfortunate that while demand for credit from medium-sized companies increased in Q4, there was a sharp reduction in credit demand from small companies. In our view, this reflects discouraged demand among small businesses, with recent BCC research revealing that half of firms mistrust banks and building societies.

“Overall, while the survey provides encouraging evidence that the Funding for Lending scheme (FLS) is improving the availability of credit, it also highlights the need for more support for young companies who aren’t getting access to the finance they need to grow and help drive the recovery. Furthermore, 2013 must be the year that the long-awaited Business Bank begins the journey from the drawing board to the real world, as this would be a game changer for companies looking to expand in the UK.