Small UK firms' confidence in bank lending improves

LONDON Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:18am GMT

A shopper passes a discount high street store, in north London January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A shopper passes a discount high street store, in north London January 14, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Confidence among Britain's small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) about the chance of successfully applying for bank financing improved in the final quarter of 2012, a survey showed on Thursday.

Of those businesses planning to apply for finance, such as loans, overdrafts and credit cards, 43 percent were confident the bank would agree to their request, up from 33 percent in the previous three months.

This remains well below actual success rates of 71 percent, however.

The quarterly SME Finance monitor, commissioned by the Business Finance Taskforce and carried out by BDRC Continental, also found 44 percent of the 5,000 businesses surveyed expected to grow in the next 12 months.

While the current economic climate continued to be considered the biggest obstacle for businesses over the coming year, the proportion of firms citing access to external finance as a barrier fell to the lowest since late 2011.

The survey's full findings are available at www.sme-finance-monitor.co.uk/

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by William Hardy)

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