Increase seen in alternative funding packages for SMEs

28th September 2012

As access to finance is the key theme of this month's First for Business magazine, Martin Nattrass, HBSC Area Commercial Director for South Yorkshire, has provided a Patron's View on the subject.

There has been much debate as to whether businesses would see any benefit from a feel good factor resulting from the national events that have taken place over the summer. It is true to say there will be some winners and some who have not benefitted from the rise in the nation's spirits. There has also been much debate in recent times about businesses and 'access to finance', and again the debate surrounds who might be the winners and who might be losers. At a time when many other lenders are contracting their lending, we remain committed to helping more small and medium-sized companies in and around Sheffield to achieve their ambitions. For example, we have recently seen Sheffield-based firms making good use of funding that we have made available - X-Cel Superturn received a funding package worth £2.8m to expand into its second manufacturing facility in Sheffield and also look at additional opportunities overseas; Rollem Patent Products received £2.1m worth of funding to redevelop its previous property and purchase new industrial premises; and Ant Marketing received a seven-figure funding package to support their rapid growth plans. While businesses might automatically think of small business loans or overdrafts as the bread and butter of funding for SMEs, more and more finance directors are recognising the importance of Trade Finance, Invoice Finance and Asset Finance as an important part of their funding toolkit. These alternative types of funding can provide a flexible and cost-efficient method of funding corporate activity, be it expansion into new markets, funding an acquisition or investing in equipment or staff. Obviously, the traditional sources of funding still remain, but there has been a clear trend in recent times towards other types of finance. Nationally we are approving over 80 percent of applications for finance from SMEs, and we saw an increase in gross new lending during the first half of the year. Our doors are very much open for business and we urge businesses to come and talk to us about their plans as we are in a strong position to help. HSBC is a patron of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

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