Commercial News

Are SME approval figures 'out of sync with reality'?

Rozi Jones -
|
10th December 2018
red light warning stop
"For banks to be approving eight out of 10 applications from SMEs is fundamentally out of sync with what we’re seeing on the ground."

UK Finance data released last week shows that banks approved eight out of ten applications for SME Finance in Q3.

The figures also show that there were 69,980 new loans and overdrafts approved for a value of £7.0bn in the third quarter.

However some industry experts are critical of the figures, with Ayan Mitra, CEO of the debt finance platform, CODE Investing, stating that the data is "'out of sync with reality".

Ayan said: "For banks to be approving eight out of 10 applications from SMEs is fundamentally out of sync with what we’re seeing on the ground.

“In our experience, the average conversion rate of one high street bank for loans to SMEs is just 8%, which paints an altogether different picture.

“The light your average SME is seeing when approaching a high street bank is red and not green.

Ayan said that SMEs are increasingly heading towards alternative finance providers whose appetite to lend remains strong.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, added: “Whilst today’s figures show that businesses across the UK are consistently supported with additional finance from their banks, we know that this still isn’t the full picture.

"There are a large number of businesses with strong management, good finances and the ambition to grow who are not supported by the high street banks that this latest data covers.

"This lack of finance stunts the growth and dampens the entrepreneurial spirit of these businesses and they need to know that a ‘no’ from a bank doesn’t mean that they can’t receive the support and partnership they’re seeking from a wide range other financial providers.

"We are also seeing an increase in cash held by SMEs, which indicates that businesses are treading carefully in the face of future uncertainty.”

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