Increased lending key to growth

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Cornwall Chamber of Commerce says a breakdown in communication between the major banks and local businesses in Cornwall is a major barrier to growth.

Over the last 12 months, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce has been working with all of the major banks in the county as well as lenders like of South West Investment Group (SWIG) and funding support organisation Crowdfunder to bridge the gap between them and the businesses who want to borrow.

Lenders in the South West claim they are very much ‘open for business’ and want to lend; the Chamber believes its role is to establish exactly why businesses in the Duchy are failing to secure funds which the banks promise exist.

In addition, the Chamber wants to encourage disheartened companies to put the banks to the test and try again for the loans they need.

At the most recent Cornwall Lenders Forum meeting in June, the Chamber invited representatives from Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Get Set for Growth to attend the meeting and update the banks and funders on developments within their organisations.

Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce said: “Due partly to the upturn in the economy and partly to banks’ recognition that there was a problem, there was an increase in lending to SMEs of £5.1bn nationally in Q1 of 2015.

“In Cornwall, we have led the way in mending the relationship with SMEs thanks to the introduction of Cornwall Lenders Forum. We are delighted that it is having an input in Cornwall and believe it could be and should be rolled out as a model around the UK.”