Top bankers blasted over funding

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Top bank bosses have been accused by a Sheffield business finance specialist of being to blame for a shortfall of billions of pounds in funding for small businesses.

Phil Meekin, of business turnaround and insolvency specialist Wilson Field, says local lending experts are shackled by executives. He said: “The banks have staff at ground level who have the skills to manage the more marginal businesses but in most cases their hands are tied by bank executives.”

Mr Meekin dismisses claims by the British Bankers’ Association that demand for finance from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) is ‘muted’.

He says there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of lengthy delays by banks in responding to finance requests, long lists of pre-requirements, unreasonable terms being offered and straightforward rejections.

Mr Meekin said: “SMEs are being forced to look elsewhere, turning to invoice finance, private investors or refinancing plant, equipment and other fixed assets.

“If none of these are available or appropriate then as a survival strategy business owners are turning to insolvency professionals rather than lose their businesses.”