Businesses give banks thumbs-up

MORE than 40 per cent of UK businesses believed their banks had been "broadly supportive" in the three months to September, according to a survey published yesterday.

The survey suggests that many firms are happy with the service they are receiving from the banks.

More than a third of business owners who responded to the survey also believed that HM Revenue & Customs had been supportive over the three-month period.

Just 17 per cent of business owners disagreed "strongly" that banks had been supportive.

The survey found that, although businesses in the North often trail the Midlands and the South in the proportion of businesses showing signs of distress, their trading performance is more likely to be affected by suppliers insisting on payment in advance.

Andrew Walker, the chairman of R3, the trade body for insolvency professionals in Yorkshire, and a partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "It is interesting that, despite the negative tone of much of the public debate around bank behaviour, just one in six businesses actually agree with this stance.

"This may suggest the presence of a vocal minority within the business community. I have seen a significant difference in the approach of the banks compared to their behaviour during the 1990s. In the last downturn, banks swiftly removed facilities; this time around they are working with businesses – granting holidays on loan payments and extending loan periods."

BDRC Continental conducted 500 interviews with small, medium and large business owners and finance directors between September 6 and September 17 2010.