Small firms shown how to sweeten relations with bank managers in the wake of Alan Sugar controversy | Knutsford Times

Small firms shown how to sweeten relations with bank managers in the wake of Alan Sugar controversy

By on November 11, 2009

The guide, entitled Get your bank manager to say ‘YES’!, has been produced by the Forum of Private Business (FPB) in response to mounting concerns over bank lending to smaller firms.
 
Almost 80% of FPB members recently reported that the terms and conditions of lending have got worse over the past year.
 
And the issue hit the headlines last week when Government enterprise czar and Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar claimed some small business owners had only themselves to blame for their inability to access finance.
 
Speaking at an event in Manchester, Lord Sugar said he understood the banks’ reluctance to lend to many smaller firms and put much of the problem down to inflated expectations created by easy access to credit over the past decade.
 
The FPB took issue with many aspects of Lord Sugar’s views and believes thousands of viable, well-managed SMEs are unfairly being denied loans.
 
Get your bank manager to say ‘YES’! is intended to help address this problem and give small businesses the best possible chances of securing a loan. Outlining seven golden rules for securing a bank loan, the guide is co-written by three expert figures.
 
The first is business consultant Olivia Stefanino, author of the internationally-acclaimed management book Be Your Own Guru. The second is FPB Chairman Noel Guilford – a chartered accountant with more than 30 years’ experience in his profession.
 
Crucially, the third author is a bank manager who has given the FPB invaluable inside knowledge of how loan applications are judged. The experienced branch manager, who has shared his expertise on guarantee of strict anonymity, has helped hundreds of small businesses become big businesses through loan approvals.
 
However, he has turned many more loan applicants away for reasons which are outlined in the FPB guide.
 
Electronic copies of Get your bank manager to say ‘YES’! will be available free of charge to small businesses through the FPB’s website. It is the first in a series of authoritative BusinessBuilder guides which the FPB is producing in order to help smaller firms to prosper – a copy can be found here.

Commenting on the launch of Get your bank manager to say ‘YES’!, co-author Noel Guilford said: “Despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the major lenders, accessing finance remains one of the major problems facing smaller businesses.
 
“In the current climate, thousands of start-ups and small firms are finding it extremely difficult to persuade their bank managers that they are viable, responsible borrowers. The backlash created by Lord Sugar’s remarks has highlighted the strength of feeling on the issue.
 
“However in my experience, many smaller firms can greatly increase their chances of securing lending by implementing a few simple measures. This is something we hope to spread the word about through this free and concise guide.”
 
Olivia Stefanino added: “I often come across clients whose businesses are well run and more than worthy of financial support, but their bank managers don’t necessarily see it the same way.
 
“This guide is intended to show them how to address that. I also think it will act as a positive, productive and timely antidote to the disappointingly negative take on the issue expressed by Lord Sugar in recent days.”

About Chris Gorman

Chris Gorman, Media and PR Assistant for the FPB - The Forum of Private Business

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