Banks leave potential SME borrowers in the Dark
A story emerging out of recent research carried out by Graydon and the Forum for Private Business amongst 750 SMEs highlights a serious lack of communication between banks and their clients. Questioned about their success (or otherwise!) in obtaining bank finance during the last 12 months, 21 percent of businesses who had failed in getting a loan said they had no idea as to why they had been refused. Unless their memories have inexplicably failed them, this suggests that banks in many instances are not bothered enough to give explanations.
Could this poor state of affairs be blamed to some extent on the way banks are organised nowadays? Loan applications are submitted to banks and are more likely than not processed at a regional business centre by analysts with no first hand knowledge of the client. This distance between the bank manager and the client cannot help the cause of cash strapped SMEs looking for a sympathetic ear. I appreciate all the reasons why Banks lost their appetite for lending during the credit crisis, but customer service shouldn’t deteriorate at the same time. Surely, even SMEs that submit poor loan applications deserve an explanation as to why their requests for finance have been turned down. After all, a good explanation for failure may well help that potential borrower to do a better job next time round. So my advice to SMES……… find out why you’ve been refused a loan by asking if a remote bank manager can’t volunteer a reason without prompting. Everyone can learn from mistakes.