A leading figure in Finsbury Park’s business community appealed to high street banks this week on behalf of Islington businesses who have struggled to secure finance through the recession and still feel that borrowing is nigh impossible.
Chairman of Finsbury Park Business Forum, Courtney Bailey, noted that at least a dozen small businesses and shops had collapsed in the past few months due to their inability to secure bridging loans and other funding lines from the major banks, the Islington Tribune reports.
Senior officials from these major banks have been summoned by the forum for a meeting to try to come up with a plan to minimise the severity of the situation.
“They (the banks) want to offer cash but are often overruled by bank executives higher up the chain of command,” said Mr Bailey.
He explained that whilst banks frequently tell him that loans are available, “the reality is that it is just not coming through in time for firms who are struggling with debt and many are going under.”
“My message to banks is this: look towards the future. Things hopefully will improve but if the high street banks don’t want to help out when times are bad why should businesses want to give them gustom when times are good?”, said Mr Bailey, who runs a 25-strong energy company.
The Chief Executive of Islington Chamber of Commerce, Ronke Lawal, also added his complaints. He said: “In Camden Passage, where traders are struggling with massive new rent and business rate increases, the banks won’t give them a loan.”
Yet whilst the business communities were clearly dissatisfied with the majority of high street banks, Lloyds was flagged as being one of the few who were willing to lend to struggling firms.
Talal Karim, Chief Executive of social enterprise board FinFuture, said that he hosts regular one-to-one sessions between traders and officials from Lloyds TSB bank.
“Lloyds have been very helpful and many traders have benefited,” said Mr Karim. “We now want other big banks to come on board.”
Lisa Parsons, area director for Lloyds TSB commercial in West London, said: “Now is an absolutely crucial time for small businesses. Their success over the coming year will be instrumental to the economic recovery, but many may be lacking the confidence to expand, diversify and seize new opportunities.
“It’s crucial that they have the support, guidance and knowledge they require to grow and it’s up to us at Lloyds TSB Commercial, as well as other banks, accountants and advisers, to provide this.”