Lots of talk in recent days, weeks and months about whether banks are giving support to small businesses.
So I decided to put them to the test – and a few months ago applied for an EFG loan for one of the companies I am involved with.
This company has been going for three years, has growth and profitability – but operates on minimal working capital. It has attracted some significant opportunities through which it can grow signifcantly over the next 12 months – but needs additional short-term finance to fund these.
All the application forms and papers went to NatWest back in May – along with last accounts, a business plan and cashflow forecasts.
So far so good – but what then followed was evasive communication, apologies that the Business Manager was too busy to deal with the case, was away, then needed bits and pieces of additional information (all of which were immediately provided).
Finally, after chasing by phone, text and email to the point where this became almost daily, and leaving numerous messages – most of which went unanswered – some TEN WEEKS later I received a curt email which said:
Your application has been assessed and regrettably it has not been successful with ourselves, I have discussed the application with my Area Director who has suggested that Equity funding may be the alternative route to explore to give the business the cash injection which is required to fulfil your projections.
Thank you for your patience and may I wish you well for the future.
Equity funding for a short term working capital requirement, forecast to be repaid within 24 months?
Just my humble opinion, but if we are to restore the economy of this country we simply can’t leave the decisions about business support in the hands of over-worked jobsworths who haven’t got the first clue about how to run a business – and who take 10 weeks to respond to a simple request.
To add insult to injury, NatWest (of which the taxpayer owns 83%) has just spent £millions on an ad campaign trying to tell us they are a ‘Helpful Bank’.
Oh, and by the way just reported profits of £1.6 billion for the first half of this year.
Just my humble opinion, but the banking system in this country is a disgrace.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had an experience of applying for EFG support – whether positive or negative.
Am I in the unlucky minority which the system has spat out? Or is the story the same for businesses all over the UK?