I started this blog in the second quarter of the year, with a blogpost titled First quarter optimism and while there has been cause for some optimism in the economy, I believe that 2015 should be approached with an element of caution.
There is already talk of stagnation in the global economy and falling exports in the Eurozone, and this is likely to have a knock-on effect to the UK over the coming months. Much has been said about interest rate rises but Mark Carney is yet to give a firm indication of when this could be. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that anything will be done in this area until after the election in May. The looming election is likely to stifle activity in the short term and this is reflective of early house price predictions for the year, with Halifax estimating moderate growth of around 3% to 5% in comparison to c10% price growth this year.
Looking back at 2014 highlights a number of economic developments but, more specifically, there have been a number of notable announcements in SME lending.
Mandated bank referrals
In August, I wrote about bank referrals being a welcome move for SMEs caught in a credit catch-22 and my thoughts on the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill – introduced as part of the Queen’s Speech – were documented in the media at the time.
The Bill itself is still making its way through Parliament but I’m confident that – if passed – the measures proposed will help to expand the options available to SMEs. It is, currently, however, still months from receiving Royal Assent.
In July, I talked of the term ‘alternative funding’ being out-dated. This is a subject I’m passionate about and for the thousands of small and medium sized enterprises we speak to, invoice finance, is a more appropriate solution than bank-lending.
The pitfalls of self-funding
Research conducted by our Market Insight team earlier in the year highlighted a rising trend of entrepreneurs and small business owners self-funding or using funds from family and friends to fuel their enterprises. And with bank lending continuing to contract, in June, I addressed this issue and asked whether self-funding is sustainable for a business.
Developments at Bibby Financial Services
In the second quarter of the year, we launched a TV advertising campaign on Sky to promote our services to a wider audience becoming the first independent invoice finance provider to advertise on national television for many years. Reaction to the campaign has been positive and I’m confident that it has helped raise awareness of both Bibby Financial Services, and invoice finance more broadly.
Record month for Bibby Financial Services
Throughout the year, new business levels at Bibby Financial Services have increased month-on-month, culminating in our best ever month in relation to sales performance, in July. We followed this up with a cracking August and great performances in September and October. I’m anticipating a good month in November too!
I’ll continue to update the blog into 2015 to keep you up to date with changes at Bibby Financial Service and to offer my views on market developments. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with my team if you have any questions regarding our services.
About David Postings
David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.