SME Portal Takes Steps to Spur on Referral System

By AltFi on 28th April 2014

P2P/Marketplace Lending

In an effort to quicken the realization of the government’s banking referral plan, the platforms behind alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk have offered to place the portal under neutral and independent management.

SME Portal Takes Steps to Spur on Referral System

The suggestion follows the end of the government consultation process on whether legislation should be introduced forcing banks to match SMEs that have been rejected for loans with alternative finance providers. In its submission to the consultation, alternativebusinessfunding (ABF) proposed that the management of the portal be passed to a non-bank independent organization to ensure its neutrality.

Adam Tavener, Chairman of pensionledfunding.com, commented:

“We are delighted with the feedback we have been getting throughout this consultation process. It seems that both the relevant government departments and our peers recognise the effectiveness of the ABF portal in guiding an SME owner quickly and simply to a likely source of finance, without cost, bias or risk.”

Louise Beaumont of Platform Black also weighed in:

“We also recognise the need for swift action on improving access to finance for this vital economic sector and acknowledge the government’s determination to get something done, and fast. Our submission therefore includes the offer of placing the ABF portal under a neutral and independent management structure, so that it can be easily adopted and expanded to form the basis of the private sector platform solution to this problem.

“Effectively the hard work has already been done and functionality has been demonstrated as we are already cross-referring between the participants.”

The consultation also outlined the government’s preferred approach to referrals: obliging banks to refer details of rejected SMEs to a platform – like ABF – so that they can be accessed by alternative finance providers.

ABF’s founding participants already cover 85% of the alternative business funding market – a percentage that will be increased with the introduction of its latest member. Angels Den – the equity crowdfunding site for sophisticated investors – has also entered the fray.

Bill Morrow, CEO of Angels Den, said:

“We are delighted to join the portal. It’s already been a great success and Angels Den will provide another option for SMEs that are excluded or rejected from traditional bank funding.”

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