Birmingham-based Wesleyan Bank has launched a new asset finance funding initiative as part of its drive to help SMEs grow and compete against larger, more established competitors.
The specialist commercial finance provider, which has doubled its net lending to UK SMEs and professions since 2015, has pledged to make an additional £50m of funding available to businesses who are specifically seeking finance for asset-related purchases. The new ‘Asset Heroes’ initiative will run from today until 31 December 2017 and UK SMEs from any industry sector are eligible to apply for funding.
Wesleyan Bank offers flexible short-term and long-term finance solutions to enable SMEs to invest in IT software and hardware, plant machinery, office equipment in addition to building refurbishments and relocations, by spreading the cost over a period from one to five years. This ensures ambitious firms can quickly access the equipment and technologies they need, when they need them, without impacting their cash flow or working capital by paying for new assets upfront.
Wesleyan Bank’s asset finance commitment follows on from the company’s second annual SME Attitudes to Finance research which surveyed 538 SME owners, from first time and experienced business owners to serial entrepreneurs. The report covers a wide range of topics including levels of optimism following the official beginnings of Brexit, growth and profitability, planned areas of investment and perceptions around external finance.
The findings reveal that almost a third of firms (30%) who are planning future investments in the next 12 months are most likely to implement new IT software and digital technologies to increase efficiency. This is followed by purchasing specialist equipment (24%) and a wide range of remaining answers which included expanding their firm’s business premises, staff recruitment and training and acquiring another business.
But despite stating their desire to grow their business, only 21% of SMEs said they intend to borrow more money this year compared to 2016. Explanations cited for their apparent fear of borrowing were risk of being in debt (57%) and experiencing greater financial pressures due to rising operating costs during the past few months (40%).
Steve Deutsch, chief executive of Wesleyan Bank, said: “Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it’s only natural for small businesses to be cautious about making a financial investment. However, investing in new assets can often be the best way to boost revenues, attract and retain customers and strengthen a firm’s competitive position.
“As a bespoke provider of commercial finance solutions, UK SMEs can be reassured that we are committed to assisting them to access the assets they need to grow and prosper as quickly, efficiently and painlessly as possible.”