SME Alliance welcomes positive meeting with Barclays
SME Alliance, which supports business people in their disputes with banks, has welcomed the positive approach shown by Barclays in the first of its meetings with high street banks.
The Chairman and the CEO of SME Alliance met with Ian Rand, CEO of Business Banking Barclays, this week. The meeting was to not only open a channel of direct communication for legacy issues of SME Alliance members but also create a dialogue for future SME lending. Barclays was the first bank to accept the invitation from SME Alliance for quarterly meetings to discuss on going issues and better communication between banks and SMEs.
Nikki Turner, speaking for SME Alliance said, “Both Nick Gould and I considered yesterday's meeting with Ian Rand and members of his team, to be extremely positive. This was an opportunity to break the ‘them and us’ silos that have existed for so long now between lenders and business clients. How can the SME sector ever regain any trust in the financial sector if we can't talk to decision makers, make our points and try to find consensually acceptable outcomes? And even where we are not in complete agreement - which, we don't pretend is likely - direct communication has to be a better option than costly litigation which many SME owners cannot afford and which only benefits the legal profession. A dialogue is now open between SME Alliance and Barclays and we are keen to progress this for our members both in terms of legacy issues and future funding."
The next bank to meet SME Alliance is TSB, later this month. Further meetings are being organised with other high street banks.
Nick Gould, Chairman of SME Alliance said, "We have always wanted to break down silos, we want to talk and we want to help open doors. After Brexit it will be extremely important that the SME sector can function to its maximum capacity. That won't happen if SMEs cannot trust banks - too many don't and with good reason. We are determined to help turn this situation around and we would like to thank Barclays for helping us to get off to a good start."
SME Alliance was formed in September 2014 to support SMEs “battling against fraud, corruption and misconduct in the financial sector” and to lobby for the fair treatment of businesses by their banks and advisors.