SMEs are ‘still not seeking finance’ claims new report

Although unemployment figures are falling and many industries are showing signs of improvement, without access to finance, SMEs are still on pretty shaky ground despite being the main drivers behind the recovery. Worryingly, research from the Bank of Cyprus UK has found that this appears to be very much the case.

The bank’s Owner Managed Business (OMB) Barometer found that companies are very hesitant about seeking investment. Fifty-eight per cent confirmed that they had “no requirement for additional finance in the last quarter”, but of those that did, taking on extra debts was not seen as a favourable option.

Around a third said that they opted to inject personal funds instead of looking for external funding, while just 12 per cent said that they had plans to apply for increased facilities from their bank in the next 12 months, with 11 per cent stating that access to funding is still a “significant barrier to growth.”

Tony Leahy from the bank commented on the results: “Given the prolonged difficult climate that OMBs have had to manage through, any signs of optimism should be welcomed and supported.

“Whilst businesses are right to keep a tight grip on their credit management and cash flow until recovery is more evident, it is disappointing that many respondents lack confidence that their bank would support them with additional facilities if needed.”

He added that OMBs and banks need to engage in dialogue in order to avoid any current issues but also to “remove any doubt or uncertainty that may inhibit confidence in planning for the future”.