The latest lending data from the Bank of England shows that the net flow of lending to business is still negative with the lending by all UK-resident banks and building societies to UK businesses contracting by £4.3 billion in the three months to November 2013.
But, says the bank of England, in the year 2013 up until November the average net monthly flow of lending was slightly less negative compared to 2012. That is to say the negativity is slowing.
Although Gross lending to companies was up by about ten percent in 2013 to November over 2012, this was more than offset by repayments leading to negative net lending across all company sizes.
Where large firms borrowing from syndicated lending facilities alone were concerned, the value of new gross lending was about the same in both Q4 and Q3 2013. It was though slightly more that in 2012 and the majority was used for refinancing.
Commenting Paul Aitken, CEO of borro, said:
"A New Year, a fresh start? Let's hope so, as today's announcement from the Bank of England certainly falls short by revealing the availability of credit for the country's SMEs is still sorely lacking. And although this last quarter's figures show an improvement in the flow of lending compared to this period in 2012, lending has actually reduced by £4.3 billion in the three months to November. It seems that despite continued efforts from policy makers, small businesses remain locked in a battle for capital, so while 2013 was the year of talking about change – let's hope 2014 is the year we see it happen.
"The sad truth is one in five of the UK's SME owners (21%) say they have missed out on a growth opportunity due to a lack of accessible finance. Furthermore, two in five SMEs (40%) who had to seek external finances have been unsuccessful in securing funding from the bank with a quarter (24%) saying they wouldn't even bother with the bank in the first place.
"Confidence in traditional lending remains low. Our online personal asset-lending model sees nearly 60 per cent of business come from SMEs, many of whom tell us they haven't even attempted to access finance through the more traditional means, instead coming straight to us and unlocking finance from high value and often usual assets. We have seen our lending to small business owners and the self-employed increase; in the past year alone borro has lent £12 million to business owners – and the average loan value is £24,000."