Banks to meet SME leaders in bid to prove they will lend

Steve Dinneen
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SMALL business leaders will be invited to join forces with a new banking taskforce designed to improve the flow of credit to SMEs, City A.M. has learned.

The British Bankers Association (BBA), working in conjunction with the chief executives of the six major UK banks, yesterday drafted a letter to chancellor George Osborne pledging to carry out research into lending practices. Now the BBA says it will invite leaders from groups such as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) to make suggestions based on the research.

A BBA spokesman said: “After the initial round of meetings we will formally contact small business groups to take our proposals to them.”

An FPB spokesman said: “It will certainly help if SMEs are involved in the taskforce. While we welcome the admission by banks that they need to examine which businesses they should lend to we feel they should be more pro-active.

“A roundtable situation would allow us to give some useful input. But we must ensure this is more than a talking exercise – viable members are still being denied credit.”