WHILE over half of UK businesses plan to seek funding for growth in the next 12 months, almost two thirds of that number are worried that their bank will turn them down, a recent survey has revealed.
The figures come from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a poll of UK SME owners and senior management on a range of economic and financial issues.
In the third quarter of 2013, Close Brothers found that of those planning to secure additional funding, almost 10% less felt that their bank would deny them access to financial support than in the first quarter of this year, signalling an issue of growing concern among SMEs.
Commenting on the findings, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, Mike Randall said: "It is encouraging that many UK firms are planning for growth and seeking investment, but unless they can get access to funding it will be difficult to realise their ambitions.
"To successfully build long-term development plans, companies will require greater access to working capital. It is important they understand and explore the alternatives available to bank lending, especially if they fear being turned down.
"Our research found that almost one in five firms surveyed have been declined access to bank funding over the last six months so the fears businesses have are not unfounded."
The survey also revealed that 42% of businesses admit that their knowledge of alternative sources of finance could be better, while 13% say they are unaware of any alternatives to bank lending.
Mike Randall added: "It's vital that firms consider other means of investment to help them fund their growth and find a solution that supports their needs.
"Asset finance is one alternative that has become increasingly popular in recent years. However many businesses remain unaware of how it can help them to achieve their potential.
"It is a flexible form of funding that allows firms either to purchase new assets or to unlock the capital tied up in their existing assets so that it can be used to facilitate their growth and development strategies. It takes physical assets and makes them work harder, providing greater financial freedom for businesses."