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Small firms find credit gets easier

THE banks are making more money available to small firms than at any stage in the past four years, according to a new report.

The latest ISME Quarterly Bank Survey found the demand and availability of bank credit improved sharply during the last three months. In addition, companies are now waiting about four weeks for a credit decision, a week fewer than previously.

The report shows some 44pc of companies who applied for funding in the past three months were refused credit by their banks, down from 52pc previously.

More than 40pc of respondents had requested additional or new bank facilities in the last three months, showing an increase on the 35pc in the previous quarter.

ISME boss Mark Fielding said: "The headline results of the survey are positive. However, the fact that both interest and charges are increasing across the board emphasises the fact that we must maintain a close eye on the bankers in the reduced market, with only two-and-a-half main banks servicing the SME sector."