Increasing numbers of established businesses are being turned away by banks despite the coronavirus crisis and government-backed support, Funding Xchange warns.
High street banks must refer rejected small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to business finance aggregators as part of the bank referral scheme.
Funding Xchange, which lets firms search for finance under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) and other types of loans, said it has registered an increase in referrals from high street banks for businesses with high turnover and a long trading history.
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The proportion of businesses applying with annual turnover of more than £100,000 made up 59 per cent of referrals in April compared with 39 per cent in March.
Referrals from those trading for at least three years also increased from a third to 50 per cent.
Funding Xchange warned there is unmet demand for micro loans, particularly for less than £25,000 and said most referrals were coming from retail, business administration and accommodation.
It warned that non-CBILS lending has largely ceased for smaller businesses both because borrowers want the advantageous interest-free terms offered by CBILS, while most lenders have also withdrawn liquidity as they are either awaiting accreditation or are solely focused on managing their back book.
This has contributed to a decline in loan offers.
In February, almost 80 per cent of loan requests from businesses received at least one offer but this has dropped to less than 70 per cent, Funding Xchange said.
Meanwhile, the number of loans being taken by borrowers has also fallen by 50 per cent to 35 per cent.
“With more lenders likely accredited to the CBILS, SMEs will also require assistance in safely and quickly accessing lenders that will fund them,”Funding Xchange said.
“Without appropriate signposting, too many businesses are struggling to find the funding they require, and lender processes are clogged up with ineligible lending enquiries.
“Delivering simple, speedy access to the right solutions requires an effective triage solution that safeguards businesses and delivers efficiencies to lenders by eliminating ineligible enquiries and establishing eligibility of the businesses for specific solutions.”