Personalised advice and money: Shawbrook’s survey reveals what SME owners need | City & Business | Finance

Lenders need to step up personal support for their SME customers and aid growth by make borrowing processes less confusing, long-winded and inflexible, new findings from Shawbrook bank reveal.

Half of smaller business owners also turned to their savings to fund their enterprises, according to the survey.

A specialist lender focusing on firms typically in areas such as manufacturing, construction and healthcare, Shawbrook’s research into businesses applying for backing over the past year found almost half thought it did not meet their particular needs.

As a result, alongside other finance products, half were still resorting to their own pots to scale. This number rose to 63 per cent among bigger companies with turnovers between £25million and £50million.

Personal credit cards and then loans were the most popular options they relied on and firms also signalled they planned to continue with these while bemoaning the lack of ongoing support. Most notably this was having a relationship manager they could speak to.



“Founders require creative solutions that go beyond mainstream finance and traditional loans,” says Neil Rudge, Shawbrook’s head of enterprise.

“They need a personal touch – someone who understands their vision and can craft a financing strategy that considers both short-term needs and future aspirations. This might involve combining different financing products, such as debt and equity to create a bespoke solution.

“The tailored support they crave is often reserved only for large, publicly traded firms or a privileged few. At Shawbrook we have a relationship manager for each business who stays with them for the duration.”

Uncertainty over the general election may cause SMEs to pause their plans adding to their overriding concerns about rising costs.

“We need stability and clear intentions from all political parties. A decline in inflation and stable interest rates will help.

Enhanced support to bolster the SME sector is vital now,” adds Rudge whose list of incentives includes reduced taxation, simplified regulation, government-funded training schemes and measures to improve access to home and international markets.

Both a commercial and retail lender, Shawbrook’s funding for businesses ranges from £1million to £5million for asset-based lending and from £1million to £20million for leveraged finance.

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