BankingFutures, an initiative made up of senior banking leaders, investors, financial reform experts and civil society representatives which has been researching SME Access to Finance over the last year has just published its findings. Their report, “Banking Small Businesses: Forging Closer Ties between Banks and the Real Economy” highlights the importance of the Responsible Finance sector, saying that it: “plays a vital role in banking for the SME sector.
Responsible Finance addresses the very real challenge posed by the fact that as bank finance has become more centralised, and local branches have closed, it has further increased the bias in funding towards London and the South East.
Responsible Finance providers are highly localised and have a detailed understanding of their local and regional economies. This allows them to assess smaller and often riskier businesses better than banks, and to ensure that vital funding is available in structurally underfunded regions of the UK. Their business models often allow them to accept a lower financial return, take on a higher level of risk, and frequently to apply ‘social good’ criteria to their lending.”