London, UK. Nearly half of UK SMEs (45%) revealed that a ‘poor understanding of SME businesses’ was the biggest challenge banks face in meeting small to middle market consumer demand. This is according to a survey of 1,000 business owners and senior decision-makers across a range of small to medium-sized organisations.
The study commissioned by fintech firm Fraedom highlighted that nearly a quarter of the survey sample (24%) said that banks ‘fail to prioritise SME needs’.
In addition to this statistic, just 12% of respondents feel that banks fully deal with their business requirements.
When SME respondents were asked what actions their banks could take to be most effective in strengthening their relationship with them, nearly half of respondents (46%), said: ‘simplify lending processes’. The next most popular option recorded was ‘be more proactive in offering advice and assistance while nearly a quarter of the sample (22%) referenced ‘provide a more personal ‘consumer-focused’ approach to engagement’;
“SMEs clearly want banks to proactively engage with them, but they also want it to be easy for them to borrow money when they do. The needs of an SME can often be very different to those of a large enterprise, so flexibility is key especially in terms of offering market specific advice and lending options,” said Kyle Ferguson, CEO, Fraedom.
SMEs also see the benefits of monitoring spending in real-time to help them achieve better cash-flow visibility. Less than one fifth (15%) of the survey sample believed there would be clear advantages in implementing programmes that do this with just 10% feeling there would be no benefits. Currently, just 43% of SMEs claim to have a near real-time view of their business spend.
Ferguson said: “The interest from SMEs in closely monitoring their spending will be positive news for banks, who are increasingly looking to implement programmes for their business customers which help them monitor real-time spend.”