An exclusive insight into the NACFB

An exclusive insight into the NACFB




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By Adam Tyler, Chief Executive of the NACFB

In these days of talk about lack of competition in the banking sector and breaking up the partially state owned banks, do the national press or the buying public really know about the wealth of choice that can be available in the SME market?

Of course they don’t and I want to give the readers of Bridging and Commercial an exclusive insight into my campaign to raise the awareness of the range and scope of commercial finance available. This is nothing new to me, but an extension and widening of a campaign that has been going on for the last few years, where I have raised this opportunity with successive governments, other SME trade bodies as well as the National Press.

The real beneficiaries of having a wide number of commercial lenders available, 63 if you are a broker with the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, are the SME’s of the United Kingdom. But if you ask the majority of small businesses to name 10 institutions where they could raise finance for their business they would struggle, so no way could they even begin to get anywhere near 63. This brings about two headline grabbing statements, There is a great opportunity for Commercial Finance Brokers to really do well at the moment. Secondly or perhaps firstly, how do we get those businesses looking for funding to be introduced to this wider range of lenders and funders?

Well, basically it costs money to really raise your profile to a national level, to become as recognised as ABTA or Corgi (used to be). So, without this investment or endorsement then the education of the SME is purely down to local contact or networking by their Commercial Finance broker in their own town or county. In this day and age and headline grabbing statements, whose responsibility is this really? The aim of the NACFB in 2011 is to raise the profile of the Commercial Finance Broker. If a local business wishing to expand is turned down by their business account provider, the search for funding usually ends. That business does not invest in new or more equipment, possibly helping another business, it cannot and does not hire more staff, it stagnates or possibly fails until credit criteria loosens. Does this help an economic recovery? Of course not, but what if that business was introduced to another funder by a broker, it could expand, it could spend more, it could hire staff, pay more tax, lessen the burden on welfare benefits and aid recovery.

This is not just a possibility of assistance from a trade body and its members on a small scale, but from one that was responsible for introducing £19.3 billion of commercial lending just a few years ago. Those figures have obviously reduced but 2010 saw a 18 per cent increase in business compared to the previous year and I expect 2011 to improve again.

Despite reports of how the NACFB has gathered together such a great number of Commercial Lenders and alongside this a wealth of experience through our members, we still need to get the message to the SME. I lobby, I give regular interviews and I have now started dealing with other trade bodies direct. For example The Genesis Initiative represents 113 Trade bodies with over one million SME members and we are now involved and want to help to provide access to a greater range of funding. But is this the sole responsibility of us as a trade body, yes it is providing business for our members, but alongside we still maintain our core principles of providing self regulation for the Commercial Finance Broker and Industry and this will never be compromised.

For 2011 we have amassed over 70 of these lenders in one place at the NEC in Birmingham on the 29th of June. And yes we do wish to seek recognition for this, we will have perhaps a thousand intermediaries attending seeking to build relationships to find lending for their SME customers. Whilst the Industry press are fantastically supportive of all our efforts, we want to help provide more funding through our members, to help more businesses grow and create jobs and yes, help the economy recover through the SME market. So, the request for somebody from BIS or from the Coalition to be present at the Commercial Finance Expo  and show support has so far fallen on deaf ears

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