Lloyds sets up support service for struggling SMEs

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LLOYDS Banking Group has launched a new service to support SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) customers in Yorkshire who may be struggling to cope with the economic slump.

The service will provide Lloyds’ SME customers with access to turnaround and transformation professionals.

The new approach is supported by the Institute for Turnaround, the leading professional body for operational, funding and advisory practitioners in business.

Its aim is to support struggling small businesses, which may be facing difficulties or lacking the resources to invest.

The service will be provided through Lloyds Banking Group’s Corporate and Commercial Business Support team.

SME customers that make use of the services can expect an independent viability review lasting up to two days. This involves an assessment of their current position, and advice about what the business needs to do to be successful in future.

With the agreement of the business owner, the accredited turnaround and transformation professional will carry out further support work.

John Pennie, North region chairman for the Institute for Turnaround, said: “UK financial institutions own the economic interest in thousands of companies that are in a state of limbo.

“They are making interest-only payment on their debts, they cannot attract investment and they have no compelling plan.

In recent research conducted by the Institute for Turnaround, thousands of these ‘zombie companies’ were reported to exist across the country, including a number in Yorkshire.

“It is possible to prevent another economic catastrophe and job losses if these zombie companies are tackled, rather than left to eventually become insolvent at an alarming rate.

“If the Government realised it could create thousands of properly functioning companies within a couple of years, there is no doubt it would be done. A magic wand is not required.

“Lloyds Banking Group’s Business Support Unit should be applauded for grasping this nettle and making practical, accredited expertise available to SMEs in Yorkshire.

“The Government should find ways of making it easy for Lloyds Banking Group – and other financial institutions – to offer this nitty gritty operational support to every customer that needs it.”