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Be more understanding to small firms, banks told

Date 1 Mar 2007
Author The Editor

High street banks must take a ‘more understanding’ approach to small firms if they want to maintain healthy profits, it has been claimed. Credit consultants e-bcm said that although small and medium-sized businesses have made a major contribution to the record profits banks are currently reporting, owner-managers are also adding to record levels of bad debt. The company claims that charges should be cut to avoid bad debts spiralling upwards, and a ‘more sympathetic approach’ should be taken towards owner-managers.

Dennis Scott, commercial director of e-bcm, said: “The charges that small businesses pay will undoubtedly have helped the banks to be successful but on the flip side of that coin, they are also contributing massively to the rising level of write-offs that the banks are having to make. “The cost of financing debts and overdrafts and paying bank charges puts an additional strain on the [small firms] and when you combine this with issues around late and non payment, it is little wonder that more small firms are finding it a struggle to survive.”

e-bcm also believe that a reduction in charges would send a positive message to small and medium-sized businesses that often struggle to maintain healthy cash flow.

“[Small businesses] that are struggling to survive day to day are bound to feel a pang of resentment when they see their bank making such huge profits. “Not only would it make sense for the banks to give more help to small firms, it would also be a way of repaying those customers for their loyalty and the contribution that they have made to those colossal profits.”

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