SMEs still feel under-served by UK banks

By Dan Wilson April 17, 2018 - 6:42 pm

A report has found that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) still feel underserved by banking services in the UK and bemoan a lack of specific and innovative provision for SME needs and also little choice or incentive to switch banks.

59% noted they experienced limited customization to their needs from banks and 40% of those surveyed said they see little difference between SME accounts and consumer services from banks except for the higher cost of business banking.

Speaking of the report billed as SMEs: Smallish Misunderstood Enterprise, they said:

Most service providers approach the SME segment as a homogeneous community, ignoring their diversity and unique needs.Is the definition of an SME still fit for purpose? The small and medium business sector is a mighty force in our economy. The opportunities are huge for any business willing to rethink their approach and reimagine services for SMEs, so we wanted to better understand the issues and scope of possibilities for both sides.
– Chris Moisan, Adaptive Lab Principal

The point made about the definition of SMEs is well made. Under current UK government and EU terminology an SME is defined as a business organisation with fewer than 250 full-time employees. That sounds like a pretty big business and reflects outdated notions of what businesses in the UK are.

Interestingly, the European Commission ran a survey earlier in the year in concert with Bradford University to assess whether the current definition is fit for purpose. Certainly when considering ecommerce businesses and merchants, it’s possible to run a company with a substantial turnover and have only a handful of staff.

And anecdotally, it would seem that online merchants are particularly misunderstood by the banks. In particular they don’t offer useful specific services that would help cross-border trade and resolve currency exchange issues.

Are you satisfied with your UK bank and the services they provide? And what additional services would you like to see?

  • Tim
    10 months ago

    All these new fintech banks that are doing simple things that banks have not even thought of will sort this out.

    Tide, Coconut, CountingUp all do or will offer a much better service than a traditional bank.

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