Shawbrook pledges support for marginalised SMEs

Shawbrook pledges support for marginalised SMEs


As the high street continues its reluctance to lend to experienced businesses and property investors, Shawbrook Bank has pledged its support for this market sector, promising to fill the current lending gap. Karen Bennett, Head of Sales at Shawbrook Bank, explains more…

Since Shawbrook launched in October 2011 we’ve seen significant demand for our products from experienced property professionals and SMEs, and we have big ambitions to continue growing our market share. We believe we have a key role to play in offering SMEs and property investors more choice when borrowing.

Take the property investor market... Despite growing opportunities, many experienced property professionals are finding themselves increasingly marginalised by their high street banks. Whereas before larger banks were actively lending within the property investor sector, their focus has now shifted more towards trading business and the cross-selling opportunities these customers present. We have also seen that a growing number of property professionals are being asked by their banks to re-finance their existing loans. This is despite solid credit histories and what were once strong, long-term relationships with their lender.

The situation isn’t much better for trading businesses, who are still struggling to find credit from high street banks despite Funding for Lending and other new initiatives aimed to make it easier for SMEs to borrow. Any scheme that encourages lending to SMEs should of course be welcomed. However, we have yet to see any real evidence that these schemes are helping significant numbers of businesses to borrow. Banks claim that there is little demand for credit from SMEs, but the evidence suggests they are still being refused credit on a regular basis.

Lending to property investors and SMEs lies at the core of Shawbrook’s business and we lend across residential properties, including single dwellings, flats, HMO’s, student lets, multi-units and portfolios, as well as mixed use and commercial properties. The experience these property professionals and businesses have is vital in our lending approach, as it gives us comfort in their ability to run the investment as they know what obstacles they may come up against.

This is particularly true of the property investor market. We look for a client who has managed one or more investment properties. We need to be sure they understand that these properties don’t just manage themselves - there can be lots of work involved and significant challenges along the way. In the case of a single dwelling residential house we will consider clients with less experience, but they must be in a strong financial position as we need to understand whether they are intending to use a management company initially whilst they gain experience.

As a bank that’s very relationship focused, we like to build partnerships with our clients so we can support them as they grow, and react quickly as new opportunities arise for them. Our team is available to discuss opportunities with our clients and we look in detail at each case before making a decision, using common sense.

We constantly look for feedback on our products and processes from brokers and clients, so we can develop and adapt our offer to meet their requirements. We hold regular focus groups with our brokers to ensure we’re always ahead of the curve, and we recently revamped our product range following some very useful feedback at our most recent partner day.

For us, innovation extends beyond the products that we offer our clients. Efficiency is key to completing deals and we recently launched the Strategic Partner programme to recognise and encourage efficiency and the highest quality of business from our brokers.

Our business is built round the intermediary channel and we have always championed the broker market, ensuring that our products and processes are designed to help our partners work with us. We have a team of dedicated and highly experienced field based development managers, who are on hand to help support all of our broker partners in building and growing their business.


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    Alistair Ewing

    This article totally nails the way Shawbrook do business. Excellent products, competitively priced with great support from their Commercial Lending team. More of the same please!

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