Small businesses join forces in open 'SME wish list' letter to new BoE Governor

CashFlows, the independent alternative to a traditional business bank account, today publishes an open letter to Mark Carney, the designate Governor of the Bank of England, alongside 14 small business owners, trade associations and small business publications. The letter takes the form of an 'SME wish list', outlining the key issues impacting the SME community in the UK today.

Unsurprisingly, barriers to accessing finance ranked high among British small businesses' concerns. However, many were keen to stress to the incoming Governor that while finance is crucial it is far from the only way that banks can better service small businesses. Other issues highlighted by the letter include ongoing problems with late supplier payments and a lack of banker and Government understanding of the needs of small businesses.

The group of 15 signatories appeal to Mark Carney to consider the following recommendations for his first 100 days in office:

  1. Ensure better promotion of alternative financial service providers and support outlets - and encourage the FCA to review and recognise these new players
  2. Promote the return of direct relationship management between banks and businesses, encouraging continuous and personalised guidance relevant to a business' evolving needs
  3. Make the Prompt Payment Code legally binding
  4. Enforce transparency in bank charging and scoring structures
  5. Talk to 100 start ups in 100 days in order to better understand the needs of British small businesses and the support they require

Neil Graham, CashFlows CEO, said: "Despite recent signs of recovery, the UK economy remains shackled by the effects of recession - and British small businesses are amongst the worst affected. Yet the existing banking system is doing little to provide financial business support at this time of need. Banking fee systems remain complicated and banks, which once had dedicated small business bank managers, are no longer able to provide meaningful advice to business customers. While access to capital is important, there is much more that can be done to improve the banking services experienced by small business owners."

"This letter is a call to action to the new Bank of England Governor to make these much needed changes to the small business banking market."

The full letter, including quotes from contributors, can be seen here: www.cashflows.com/smewishlist

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