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Banking On Us for Fair Finance

5th April 2017 By Katy Ford in Business loans

Spring’s in the air and in our step, as we review the results of our annual customer satisfaction survey. With analysis of our end of year results yet to be finalised, we thought we’d share a sneak preview of how we’re doing in our customers’ eyes, before sharing our thoughts about the wider UK finance sector’s track record on financial inclusion…

So how do customers who are considered too high risk by the wider finance community rate Foundation East?

 

Customer satisfaction scores

 

We’ve been working hard to help SMEs that have been turned away from mainstream finance. We’re perhaps better able to do this than mainstream banks, since, as a Responsible Finance Provider, our business policies and procedures are designed to focus on people first. If we can see you have a viable business idea we will support you, even if you don’t pass the risk tests of high street banks.

We’re doing well on customer satisfaction scores, yet are far from complacent.

  • 88% are either extremely or very satisfied with our overall service
  • 92% are satisfied, very satisfied or extremely satisfied with the support provided by their Foundation East loans manager
  • 100% say they are likely, very likely or extremely likely to recommend Foundation East business loans and support to others

 Our aim is 100% across all indicators and we will continue to work hard to achieve this.

 

Access to fairer finance scores

 

We’re doing well at enabling SMEs to avoid turning to less fair forms of finance and at getting them ready for mainstream finance.

  • 62.5% say they could not have accessed funding without us
  • 25% say our advice and support has improved their business skills
  • 37.5% state we’ve enabled them to survive or grow an existing business
  • 25% state we’ve provided access to fairer borrowing

 

We’re doing well at enabling ambition

 

We’re doing well at helping ambitious people keep at it, despite barriers; customers like Laura Morrison of Your Telemarketing, Arjun Technology Ventures and Kerry Kavanagh of Perk Coffee.

  •  43.75% state we’ve allowed them to fulfil their ambition and start a business

 As Mike of Cookies Bakers & Confectioners says:

 “The support and finance from Foundation East has enabled us to become masters of our own destiny. The business is viable otherwise our funding application would not have been approved, but because Foundation East listened to us, as well as looking at the figures, they could see past the need to tick boxes relating to experience and trading history to make a decision that mainstream providers could not.”

 

What more can the wider UK finance sector do to increase financial inclusion in 2017?

 

As Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance, stated in her keynote to Centre for Responsible Credit’s (RfRC) annual conference in February:

“The UK likes to boast about having the best financial services bus this has never translated into having the best track record on financial inclusion.

“Depending on which research you look at and what metrics you use, we are in the top quartile in terms of performance in the EU.  But many countries do much better, such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany.

“Everyone knows how complex the issues are surrounding financial exclusion and there is no silver bullet to solve this.  But there are three issues worth considering when we are considering potential solutions. Understanding the markets through access to data; understanding people to support personalisation; and not underestimating the costs of disruption required to create change at scale.”

There are some interesting developments going on in these areas, which I will report upon in the weeks and months to come, in the meantime, you can read an extract of Jennifer’s speech on Responsible Finance’s news page.

 

 

 

 

  • About the Author
    Katy Ford

    Katy Ford

    Working for Foundation East since its inception in 2004, Katy became Chief Executive in 2009. She had previously held the position of Treasury Manager for a large insurance company. In this role, she was responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with banks and investment houses on behalf of corporate clients, as well as the treasury team. Before this Katy ran a small hotel, an experience that enables her to understand the challenges faced by Foundation East’s SME clients.