SMEs suggest banks have been slow to offer help during pandemic

Fifty-eight per cent of SMEs feel their banking provider has been slow to offer them help during the Covid-19 crisis, according to a survey conducted by the Lanop Accountancy Group.

The findings, contained in a poll of 100 business owners of UK SMEs by the group, revealed that nearly 29% of companies had applied for a loan from their current banking provider to help them through the Covid-19 crisis, and that 13% were still planning to make full redundancies despite making use of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Lanop Accountancy Group suggested the research raises fresh questions about the level of support available to companies struggling during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. 
 
Respondents were also asked about how tax changes could provide support and 65% agreed that if the Government was to reduce VAT tax for 2020, their businesses would be given a lifeline during the crisis. Of the business owners surveyed, 80% also thought the Government should reduce stamp duty tax to help the declining property market. 
 
Encompass Corporation CEO, Wayne Johnson, commented: “The financial challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic have already proved monumental, and it is worrying that these companies are feeling neglected and unimpressed by their provider’s handling of the situation.

“Complex, expensive and long due diligence processes are preventing British businesses from getting access to the finance and banking services they urgently need. Banking security checks should not act as an obstacle to business owners accessing the credit and services they require.”
 
“Even though the new government scheme offers optimism during a difficult time, with many business owners struggling to pay bills with no revenue coming in, it is crucial that the big banks who offer the scheme follow the correct regulatory measures, and introduce relevant RegTech and automation technology to cope with this influx in demand.

“Now, more than ever, banks and financial services organisations should utilise the power of automated solutions to comply with important banking processes swiftly and securely.”

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