Commenting on the Project Merlin figures announced today by the Bank of England, David Frost, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Project Merlin figures are disappointing, but they are only a part of the story for businesses. Many companies complain about strained relationships with banks both during and after the recession. Over-centralised processes, unclear decision-making and a lack of proper, local relationship management from banks, mean that in many cases, business customers have been put off applying for finance.”

“Banks should reconsider how they communicate with business customers, and be able to make decisions at a local level about their financing needs. Greater transparency, and local support from banks, go hand in hand with improved amounts of financing available to businesses.”

“The crisis of confidence between businesses and banks has to be addressed, but lending targets are only one part of the solution. Money must reach the most productive parts of the economy and that means improving business lending. That relies on banks providing greater transparency and local support, not just national targets and numbers.”