Bankers talk up loan record

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More than 70 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses applying for a loan or overdraft were successful in the last quarter of the year, according to a survey commissioned by the British Bankers’ Association.

The publication of the research comes after it emerged that bank lending fell by £2.4 billion in the same quarter, sparking an outcry from small business groups claiming that banks are failing to pass on support given to lenders through the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme (FLS).

The authors of the survey said most respondents – 65 per cent – were “future happy non-seekers of finance” – but admitted that first-time applicants struggled to get loans or overdrafts, with less than half of applications succeeding. Shiona Davies, director at research firm BDRC Continental, said: “Borrowing by first-time applicants remains a challenge, but overall most SMEs that apply will be successful.”