The UK’s banks are culturally stuck in 2008 by failing to deliver commercial finance to firms who need it, Duncan Kreeger, director of West One Loans, has claimed.
He was speaking in the wake of the Bank of England’s Money and Credit report, which revealed that lending for construction decreased by 7% in August compared to the same month last year.
Gross lending to SMEs stood at £3.7bn in August compared to £4.3bn on average over the last six months.
Duncan Kreeger, director of lender West One Loans, said: “In the real economy opportunities are now flowing freely, but traditional lenders are still restricting liquidity.
“To seize the moment and grow British firms will need finance, yet the mainstream financial system doesn’t seem to have the manoeuvrability to keep up.
“Banks are culturally stuck in 2008 – while most businesses are already looking forward to a prosperous 2015.
“Large high street lenders are still turning around very slowly from the most defensive of strategies. That’s not really suited to the economic climate of 2014 and expectations for 2015.”
The report also showed that mortgage approvals decreased from 66,100 in July to 64,212 in August.
Kreeger added: “A lack of homes is already being felt by aspiring households, and at some point a lack of commercial space could have a similar effect on aspiring businesses.
“Alternative finance is filling the gap, with lending for conversions and refurbishments more than doubling in the last year – but the whole financial system needs to embrace new approaches more quickly.”