Are the banks lending? – Urban Emporiums
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23rd Apr 2009
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26th Apr 2009

Updated – 28/04/09

So rang them again today to see why someone from commercial had not made contact. Firstly the chap on the phone said he is not sure why the business specialist in the branch had said it needed to go to commercial because it does not! He also said that HSBC is not lending to any restaurant’s, cafes or coffee shops in the current environment.

So the answer is that HSBC are not lending for certain types of business. It would also appear as if they don’t know there arse from their elbow. I would be very suprised if anyone can get money out of the HSBC at the moment. So much for Government schemes to help small businesses to secure lending.
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We have decided to see if they are?!!

So we have approached HSBC about a 20k loan.

So I rang HSBC 3 times to get an update to find they had passed it to a business specialist in the New Street branch in Birmingham. So after a further 2 days of no response from said business specialist I decided to pop in and see what was happening. Turns out the business specialist it had been assigned to was no longer a business specialist. So I spoke to another business specialist;

Well here are the facts, if you are looking to borrow more than £3000 from HSBC you will need to sign personal guarantees. I suspect that is similar to other high street banks and basically means that the banks are refusing to take any risks. Now I am not sure if this was the same before the crunch started.

If you want to borrow more than £10,000 then it will go to the HSBC commercial team who typically would have been dealing with much larger sums of money but are now dealing with just about everyone.

The feeling I got was they will not be prepared to take any risk whatsoever and may even look for security from a house. The HSBC guy did talk about using the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme (SFLG) which was the Governments scheme that provides security for 75% of the loan which takes the risk away from the bank. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was replaced this year by the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG), just shows they are not keeping up.

So we now wait to see if HSBC commercial will make us an offer. I think it’s going to turn out to be cheaper for us to just go and get personal loans rather than a business loan.

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