Firms “face hard slog” to gain bank finance as bad debt write-offs increase

Write-offs of bad debts by UK banks unexpectedly rose in 2010

Write-offs of bad debts by UK banks unexpectedly rose by another 8% last year to a record £17.3bn, posing an increased challenge for firms looking to secure bank finance.

A new report by independent finance providers Syscap found that the increase in write-offs was partly driven by increased bad credit card debts which rose by 29% in 2010 to £5.32bn, up from £4.12bn in 2009.

According to the research, as banks continue to suffer big hits to their balance sheets, it is unlikely that small and medium sized companies will see a return to traditional lending levels by the banks.

Philip White, chief executive of Syscap, says that small and medium sized businesses “looking to expand, create jobs and invest are going to continue to find getting a conventional loan from a bank a hard slog.”

He advises that companies should “explore other forms of finance such as leasing” adding that “businesses will find it far easier to raise capital investment by securing funds against that asset through leasing rather than by getting a normal loan.”

According to the FLA (Finance & Leasing Association), total asset finance provided to businesses in the last three months (to Feb 2011) has increased by 20% to £5.1bn up from £4.27bn in the same period last year.



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