Savvy SMEs Securing Finance

The fact that Barclays are currently spending millions of advertising budget on boasting about how they can teach elderly people to Skype each other tells you everything you need to know about the attitude of the banks as the mess that they created is slowly cleared away.

Who cares if they offer pitiful interest rates to lenders and make it virtually impossible for small businesses to raise funds if they can show a geriatric football team how to start a Facebook page? Claps on the back and million pound bonuses all round then.

While the Sinful banks continue to play around with peripherals, rather than providing any real support to the slowly recovering small to medium sized (SME) business sector, we have seen a growing vacuum which has led to the rapid development of an alternative lending market.

With 59% of SME's (according to research carried out by Fleximize) expecting their firms to grow in 2014, there is increasing awareness and acceptance of alternative lending, particularly peer to peer loans. Peer to peer loans are attractive to borrowers because they are generally unsecured and can be negotiated online.

While interest rates are higher than for secured bank loans they are providing a vital infusion of cash to the SME sector when the banks have largely turned their backs. In fact Fleximize report that nearly one in four businesses (24%) claim that they will consider alternative lenders within the next three years.

Fleximize also predict that the alternative lending SME sector will see huge growth as a result of banks continuing to be unwilling to lend, growing awareness amongst businesses of alternative lenders, and potential proposals for new legislation that will force banks to provide details of companies they have rejected for funding, to alternative lenders.

Up to now the banks have been fair weather friends to the SME sector, knowing that they had no real competition. It would seem that all that is about to change.

Robin Sainty APFS M.A. (Cantab)