Finance East highlights alternative to bank lending for small firms

A COMMUNITY finance organisation in the region says it offers small businesses in need of funding for start-up or expansion an alternative if they are turned down by their bank.

Finance East, which can offer loans of up to �50,000, is seeking to spread its message following a “Banking Forum” event in East Anglia last week which highlighted the concerns of small firms over the approach of banks to lending in the current financial climate.

Richard Glinn of Foundation East said: “We know that finance is crucial for successful small businesses whether it’s when starting or when ready to expand which is why we offer loans of up to �50,000 for such businesses.”

Speaking at a Federation of Small Businesses “Voice of Business” event in Essex, Mr Glinn said: “Businesses may be turned down for bank lending for a wide variety of reasons but a common problem is a poor credit score. Foundation East does not use a credit scoring system for its small business loans.

“Instead, the applicant must be able to provide a strong business case for the loan, supported by the necessary documentation and financial detail.

“To apply for a business loan you must complete an application form. Once we have received your application the Business Loans Manager for your area will be in contact with you to help you through the application process.”

Mr Glinn added: “It might be that your business plan needs a bit more work; support is available to help develop that business plan.

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“When the Business Loans Manager is satisfied that your business plan is viable then the application will be referred to the Foundation East loans panel.

“The loans panel is made up of members of Foundation East; these include business people and professions with experience of finance, marketing or business development. They base their decision making on an understanding of what it takes for a business to succeed.

“That commitment to looking at the real viability of the business is what makes us different from the High Street banks and why we are finding an increasing demand for our services.”

Essex FSB chairman, Iain Wicks, said: “Accessing finance is one of the major challenges facing entrepreneurs looking to start a business or expand an existing business as far too often High Street banks are refusing such finance or imposing such punitive conditions that the loans on offer strangle rather than support a small business.

“That is where Foundation East comes in and provided the business is viable, has a clear business plan and vision of its future they will consider lending up to �50,000 to help that entrepreneur create new jobs and boost the economy.

“Essex FSB was impressed by the information Foundation East gave at this Voice of Business Briefing and we would encourage any local business which needs finance and has been refused by the High Street banks to contact them to see how they can help.”