Together, the specialist finance provider, has confirmed its partnership with Funding Options; one of the three companies chosen by the Government for the new SME bank referral scheme, which came into effect on 1st November 2016.
Funding Options was selected by the British Business Bank as an official partner for the scheme, whereby high street banks must refer their business banking customers to an alternative provider if they cannot offer direct funding, with the aim of helping more SMEs with growth plans.
The panel is made up of a variety of alternative finance providers, to cover as much of the market as possible, and includes specialist lenders, invoice financing and peer-to-peer platforms, with customers being matched to the most appropriate lender.
Chris Baguley, commercial director at Together said: “The launch of the SME bank referral scheme is revolutionary for small businesses in the UK and we’re already working with several banks on this, so we’re delighted to now also be on hand through Funding Options to assist businesses that are looking for finance.
“We know from our own research that a worrying number of SMEs are unaware of the alternatives to mainstream banks, so it’s great that they are now being pointed in the right direction through organisations such as Funding Options. We hope that with the help of specialist lenders like ourselves, the scheme will help many small businesses to grow.”
Richard Leader, marketing director at Funding Options added: “SMEs contribute significantly to the UK economy, yet this is likely to increase further now that we’re seeing a much-needed improvement in access to funding. We assist companies all over the UK to find the right business finance and have an existing and successful relationship with Together. We are pleased to now add them to our Bank Referral panel, giving more opportunities to help UK businesses find the right finance.”
The bank referral scheme was confirmed in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and stipulates that banks which turn down a finance application from a small business must now refer the customer to an alternative finance provider.
The British Business Bank has estimated that over 100,000 SMEs are turned down for a bank loan every year, representing a possible funding gap in the UK of £4bn, which highlights the scope of the new scheme.