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Access to Finance

The Issue

Small businesses have struggled to access finance from high street banks since the credit crunch of 2008. Many of our members have battled to find investment to help grow and create jobs. We’re continuing to work with the Government and regulators to widen the choice of available banking products and alternative finance providers.

Small businesses are reporting that credit availability is continuing to improve. In Quarter 2 2017, the percentage of small businesses which were successful in applying for credit rose, following a dip in Q4 2016.

Action FSB have taken

  • In May 2015 we brought senior politicians and regulators together to discuss how to increase lending to small businesses.
  • In Aug 2016 we gained major policy wins as part of the Competition and Markets Authority's review into SME banking on standardisation of Business Current Accounts and better guidance for small firms
  • In Oct 2016 we published a major report on access to banking and the impact of bank branch closures on small businesses
  • In January 2018 we launched the FSB Funding Platform enabling small businesses to access a wide range of finance options.

Our Goal

High street banks remain the dominant force in the small business finance market. A more transparent and diverse system is essential to offer small businesses a real choice of credit products and services.

We believe this would lead to greater overall stability in the finance market and protect small businesses if the economy were to suddenly contract as it did in 2008.

“I want improved access to finance so I can invest in new staff and new, innovative technologies” FSB Member.

Achievements in...



  • We successfully lobbied for an extension of the Funding for Lending scheme until January 2016
  • We heavily engaged in the Competition and Markets Authority's review of SME banking in August 2016
  • We helped to develop and promote the Government's mandated debt referrals platforms in September 2016
Visit UK/Westminster section


  • Following FSB lobbying, the Scottish Government launched a new £40m SME ‘Holding Fund’ to increase the level of finance available for businesses.

  • We were instrumental in the development of a new, online one-stop shop, allowing small businesses to find all available sources of finance - both public and private.

Visit Scotland section


  • The review drew heavily on FSB input and produced recommendations for more wide-spread use of alternative finance and a reform of Finance Wales.
Visit Wales section

Northern Ireland

  • Micro, small and medium sized businesses that have been refused funding by the private banking sector will have an additional avenue of accessing finance.
Visit Northern Ireland section

FSB Cash Advance

A risk-free way of raising finance for your business, which is not secured to your assets, giving you the cash injection you need, when you need it.

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