SMEs form an integral component of the UK’s economic engine, and with nearly half a million in Yorkshire and Humber alone.
Supporting more than 16 million jobs, and representing more than 99% of the UK’s businesses, a thriving SME sector is key to securing long-term prosperity, says CYBG group business banking director Gavin Opperman.
In Yorkshire and Humber alone, there are more than 400,000 SMEs. For those enterprises to continue to grow, access to finance is crucial. Whether that is to invest in people, equipment, premises, new products and services, or to ensure a stable cash flow, investment is key to growth.
This investment must be underpinned by a system which instils confidence in lenders. We live in uncertain times for businesses and society at large, with unprecedented amounts of information at our fingertips making it difficult to sort the facts from opinion.
Trust plays an absolutely fundamental role here, and as the Yorkshire Post continues to provide its readers with unbiased and factual news – reporting as the most trusted weekday paper in the UK – so too must CYBG strive to uphold its own commitment to matching that level within the banking sector.
It’s therefore essential for us as a responsible lender to provide clear, factual, concise, neutral and practical advice to all our customers to allow them to cut through the noise so they can make the most informed investment decisions possible.
In recognition of this, we’ve signed up to the Business Finance Charter, and join a range of banks and finance providers in committing to five clear pledges to help support our SMEs across the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.
First and foremost, we are ‘open for business’ and have set up specific funds tailored to SMEs. Our experts will work closely with customers to support them through the current uncertain economic and political environment. As businesses navigate through Brexit, we will continue to be fully sympathetic to requests for new or additional lending and provide flexibility whenever possible.
Alongside a promise to honest and fair treatment of SMEs, providing clear and accessible information to them underpins the Business Finance Charter. Among other mechanisms, we have a well-established procedure for resolving complaints with customers – fully compliant with regulations and delivering a fair outcome. We’re also signed up to the voluntary Standards of Lending Practice and fully support the proposed Business Banking Resolution Service proposition.
The Charter also marks a pledge to work with the government owned British Business Bank to signpost all relevant guidance and to assist businesses in securing a loan or overdraft, even if they lack the security for lending. We have a long history of working with the British Business Bank to support SMEs, including the involvement of BBB schemes to support lending, and more specifically, offering an Enterprise Finance Guarantee loan to our customers. We will continue to do so in an ongoing effort to ensure SMEs understand all of the funding opportunities available to them.
Now, more than ever, banks have a responsibility to businesses. As SMEs continue to navigate through uncharted waters, they must not take their eyes off of growth. They should be able to finance their ambitions, and importantly have confidence in their lender to provide them with accurate and transparent advice.
More than 90% of Yorkshire Post readers trust what they read in the 265 year old paper. As a bank, we too have to embed trust to a similarly high standard, and signing up to the Business Finance Charter marks a demonstration of our commitment to doing just that.
For more information visit www.ybonline.co.uk