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Small firms see better funding in September, figures say

So here’s something that will shock you: while it’s usually like pulling teeth to get funding for a small firm, September was actually a rather good month.

I know – it sounds preposterous, doesn’t it? Banks and building societies often treat self-employed Brits, like freelancers and small business owners, as if they had the plague when it comes to access to finance. Still, it turns out that all the entrepreneurs and contractors out there in the UK actually saw some positive movement on this in September; in fact, the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers said that small-sized enterprise in the UK got a total of £1.25 billion in approved lending for the month. That’s 55 per cent higher than it was in 2013!

Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that High Street has come to its senses. Sure, there was some lending from traditional sources, and new lenders like Metro Bank have been trying to break the Big Four’s stranglehold on financial services, but quite a bit of funding activity came from non-traditional sources. Crowdfunding initiatives and peer-to-peer lending was a major player in September’s figures, according to the NACFB.

This is splendid, brilliant news, especially for anyone who’s looking to springboard their own new business. Self-employed Brits have been foundering for several years when it comes to financial services, and with the figures jumping so high in just a year’s time it gives industry analysts hope that the trend will continue. I know I’m certainly hoping that October’s figures will be high as well.

Of course lending availability and need ebbs and flows throughout the year. In 2012, September lending was a relatively high £750 million, while in May of this year figures were a rather anaemic £250 million. Whether this is an issue of contract workers and self-employed Brits not needing as much funding during these months or banks and building societies telling small business owners to jog on is of course unknown.

If you ask me, I’m inclined to believe that it’s the latter more than the former. High Street has earned a much-deserved reputation for sitting on their capital in fear of bank runs or another credit crisis, so they’ve been tending to only provide access to finance for the surest of sure bets, even as the Government tries programme after programme, scheme after scheme, to encourage lending. Finally it seems either banks have changed their minds or there’s simply enough alternative lenders out there to finally satisfy the needs of self-employed Brits everywhere.


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