If bad news sells more papers than good news, then it’s time we did something to redress the balance. Love Lending Week is exactly that – an opportunity to share positive stories about businesses that have received the funding they required, and that are now thriving. The event is all about raising the profile of the lending that is currently happening.
The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) is proud to have 115 alternative funders working with us as patrons, including, for the last two years, Boost Capital. Together, we’ve seen big growth in 2014. Our members wrote £12.7 billion of business in the twelve months ending in June. Vehicle finance has doubled; buy-to-let business is up 30 per cent; alternative funding has grown by 25 per cent.
One of the barriers that SMEs face is that the Big Four banks are responsible for four-fifths of small business loans, according to Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) figures. Divide the remaining 20 per cent among the 115 alternative funders, and you can see the inequality. But, to some extent, they’re serving different purposes, as lenders find the businesses with whom they fit best.
However, when we hear the CMA claiming that barriers to entry and expansion for new lenders ‘remain significant’, it sounds at odds with the rapid growth in alternative lenders that we’ve seen ourselves. And that translates into available finance.
Something new the NACFB members have been doing is keeping themselves busy writing £1 billion per month, and we’re helping brokers comply with the relevant regulations with the transparency that the Financial Conduct Authority requires. We have always believed – and still believe – that regulatory decisions would be better made by experienced commercial finance brokers, so we’re staying closely involved with the whole process.
Love Lending Week is less about the big overview, and more about the small success stories contained within that £12.7 billion figure. Businesses come to us for loans as small as £3,000, but it all counts. To get over a ten-foot wall, you don’t need a twenty-foot ladder. It’s not about how big the hurdles are, it’s getting over them that counts. Small businesses are doing that in their thousands, and Love Lending Week is going to give them a voice.
Adam Tyler is the Chief Executive Officer of the NACFB.