FSB AND BCC JOIN FORCES TO DRIVE INDEPENDENT RESEARCH INTO THE STATE OF UK BANKING SERVICES FOR MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES

Actively supported by HM Treasury, Business Banking Insight will provide a comprehensive and public assessment of business banking in the UK

First tranche of research to be released in May 2014

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) announced that independent research into the UK business banking sector is in progress with first results expected in May 2014.  The Business Banking Insight programme (BBI) will ask micro, small and medium sized businesses to share their experiences in order to provide insight into the best banking services available across the UK.

The research, first announced by the Treasury in November, will be the first of its kind to assess the UK business banking sector as a whole. The BBI programme will look at the performance of individual banks as perceived by micro, small and medium sized businesses and make the output publicly available via a bespoke website that is planned to go live in May 2014. The programme is actively supported by HM Treasury and is jointly driven by the FSB and BCC, with counsel from an advisory group. Leading independent research company ICM is undertaking the BBI research, which will be repeated on an ongoing basis every six months.

David Perry, Associate Director, ICM, said, “The results of the BBI research project will help, micro, small and medium businesses to identify the banks that are best able to provide support and services for their needs, as assessed by their business peers. When launched, the BBI website will include results from the survey, including breakdowns by region and business size.  Fieldwork has now commenced.”

John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, commented, “This independent study is essential to ensure that the UK’s micro, small and medium businesses are better informed about the services offered to them by banking institutions. Access to finance is absolutely critical to our members and we believe there is a clear need for improved banking services and increased trust between businesses and banks. We are driving the BBI project alongside BCC in the belief that it will bring greater transparency and competition in the UK banking sector to the benefit of businesses up and down the country.”

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said, “Many firms across the country are still struggling to access the banking services they need to run their business effectively.  This is why we are working in partnership with the FSB to deliver a new and independent tool that will allow firms to compare banking experiences across the industry – while shining a light on both good practice and those institutions that need to improve their business offering. For the UK’s micro, small and medium sized companies to really feel the benefit, we need financial institutions to get behind this initiative to encourage greater competition within the banking sector and a higher level of service across the board.”

Anthony Browne, Chief Executive of the BBA, added: “When you’re trying to keep on top of all the things you have to when running your own firm, it’s hardly surprising that many people just don’t have time to compare what different providers offer. That’s why this new service could be so useful for micro, small and medium businesses across the country and from a range sectors.”

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