Money (14)

Smaller businesses are continuing to face barriers to funding across the UK, with 73 per cent of them finding the application process to be overly ‘long and painful’, according to figures from small business lender Ashley Finance.

Despite figures showing that cashflow is responsible for up to 90 per cent of small business failure, smaller UK busiensses are struggling to access cash to support their working capital needs.

The stats from Ashley Finance’s recent SME survey directly correlate to figures from the British Bankers’ Association that shows a dip of £1.6 billion in business borrowing from banks in February 2017, as smaller business owners fail to find funding options that suit their individual needs from traditional lenders.

The revealing statistics make a clear case for a continued push for better access to funding for UK small firms, but also highlights the barrier that many smaller businesses, particularly those with a less than perfect credit score, are experiencing when seeking cashflow solutions.

Ashley Finance reckons it has come up with a fix, including a new website which features a much simpler, online application process, while customers are presented with easy ways to get in touch with personal relationship managers giving clients a single point of contact with someone who will build an understanding of their business over time.

Ashley Finance also revealed it fresh branding, re-casting the company as a partner to SMEs with the catchline, “Problem Solved”.

Richard Waldman, Group Sales Director of Ashley Finance, said: “The SME market is facing uncertain times, and our research shows us that matters are being made worse for a proportion of businesses that are struggling to access funding via traditional routes.

“For many of our customers, an injection of cash can be their saving grace, helping to take the pressure off and allow them breathing space when times have gotten tight. Faced by difficult questions and forms requiring years of backdated evidence of operation, they might find themselves in unnecessary dire straits when flexibility and a personal touch in the decision process is all it really takes to get a ‘yes’ to funding that is so desperately needed.

“It’s a fact of life for businesses that cashflow is a fundamental and a simple short-term funding solution shouldn’t be a stressful undertaking, hence the “Problem Solved” strapline we’re now using.

“We like to think a more constructive approach that gives these businesses a little peace of mind has helped to drive some confidence in the market and we expect the rebranding and redesign of our website to reinforce our place as the go-to SME lender among business introducers.”

Ashley Finance offers a range of products to meet customer cash needs, including bridging loans up to £2million against loan-to-value up to 75 per cent, with rates starting at a competitive 0.95 per cent. The firm also specialises in invoice finance, and business loans which are flexible and open to those SME’s who have struggled getting funding support from other lenders.