Cambs firms ‘missed out on �34m loans’

THE new Cambridge and Counties Bank, set up in June as a collaboration between the county’s local government pension fund and Trinity Hall College estimates that businesses in Cambridgeshire had overdraft and loan applications worth �34million rejected in the second half of 2011 alone.

Analysis of industry data by the bank, which was launched in June this year, targeting established small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambridgeshire, reveals that there are around 28,000 businesses in the county, more than a quarter of them (7,660) in Huntingdonshire, more than in any other district.

Chief executive Gary Wilkinson said: “Cambridgeshire is a hotbed of successful businesses, and many are leaders in their industries on a UK, and in some cases, global basis.

“A number of these successful businesses are looking to raise capital, but it has become harder to raise funds from the big banks. Indeed, we estimate that local businesses could have been turned down for as much as �34million in loan and overdraft applications during the second half of 2011.

“This helps explain why our research shows that nationally 47 per cent of businesses believe that their relationship with their main business bank is only average or bad.”

The bank will lend between �50,000 and �1m to SMEs that typically have an annual turnover of less than �25m, and assets valued at less than this, it said as the Government launched its new cheap credit scheme to encourage high street banks to lend to business and householders, the Funding for Lending Scheme.