By Robert Clare, NatWest Regional Director for Sussex and Surrey and South West London This guide will provide a general overview of many of the types of business funding now available in the marketplace, and in subsequent issues we will look at these in more detail. The aim is to help you to make informed choices on the finance options available for your business and to let you know what information any funder is likely to ask you to provide. There are many forms of finance available to SMEs, available from Banks like NatWest, as well as sources of non-bank finance. Indeed there is perhaps more choice and availability than for many years and with low base rate and the Funding for Lending Scheme, borrowing costs for some types of finance are at historic low levels. Whatever the wider economy does, access to funding will remain important but access to expertise is vital. Running a small business can be lonely and is certainly demanding, even in the good times. These guides aim to provide support to local businesses, allowing you to make informed choices for your business. At NatWest we have also committed to do the following things to help SMEs that are thinking about accessing funding for business growth:
- We will write to thousands more SMEs setting out clearly how much we are willing to lend to their business. We have already offered £6.5 billion of lending opportunities this way and following the positive response to these letters we are now extending the programme.
- A dedicated website will be developed to show clearly what information NatWest uses to make a lending decision and set out simple, clear steps in its lending process.
- The bank will begin work to enable bankers to make all but the most complex lending decisions in just five days of receipt of all necessary information – this process can currently take weeks and months in some instances.