“Time and time again, we have told the banks that poor relationship management, over-centralised decision-making and a lack of transparency was preventing business growth. These problems are widespread – and Chambers of Commerce across the UK have repeatedly been asked to mediate on behalf of companies frustrated with their treatment.
"As such, we are pleased that the Business Finance Taskforce has recognised that the banks can, and must, do more to help small- and medium-sized businesses. It is absolutely essential that the service provided to business customers is improved, so that they can swiftly secure the financing they need to invest, grow and drive the recovery.
“Perhaps most critical of all is action on trade finance. While the taskforce has given a nod to the issue, the far reaching consequences of insufficient funding for UK’s exporters demand urgent and aggressive action. Only when this has happened will the businesses selling their goods and services abroad be able to maximise their potential.
“The proposed Business Growth Fund will be welcomed by the minority of SME businesses seeking equity investment. But we need to remember that many businesses are not seeking equity investment – so the improvement of lending processes and business-bank relationships must be the focus of any reform effort.
“Time is of the essence. The faster these reforms are implemented by the banks, the faster confidence will return to the companies that will drive the UK’s economic recovery.”