HSBC and BFS pledge €150m funding line to expand SME financing capabilities across Europe

To increase relevance in the SME market, bank bosses need to change the conversations they’re having with customers, Accenture said in one of its latest reports, “SME Banking 2020; Changing the Conversation”.

It claimed: “The door’s already ajar. We know SMEs are open to having closer relationships with banks.” 

In fact, the research claimed 31 per cent of leaders sought closer engagement with banks for a source of proactive ideas, including the financial and non-financial assistance that would help them optimise their businesses.

And one way HSBC is seeking to drive engagement – and bat away the competition – is to help grow the market though a three-year $150m funding agreement with Bibby Financial Services (BFS). This, according to the two firms, is part of an ambitious strategy to ramp up support for SMEs across Europe.

Steve Box, International CEO at BFS, said: “Our aim is to continuously grow our funding support for businesses, working closely with banks to fuel economic growth throughout Europe.

“Businesses across the world are becoming more aware of the range of financing options available and our new funding availability will enable us to respond to an increasing demand for receivables and trade finance.”

He further added that funding would be made available for new and existing SME customers and would take BFS’ total funding capability across Europe to €1.1bn. The partnership would also, he suggested, allow BFS’s European subsidiaries – outside of the UK – to access funds to help SMEs connect to trading opportunities both domestically and internationally.

Of this, Dan Howlett, HSBC’s Head of Corporate Banking, said: “With our global reach, connectivity and strong capital base, HSBC is in a prime position to help corporate businesses explore these domestic and global opportunities.”

Elsewhere, as industries entrenched in out-dated businesses practices begin to experience a sea change, the financial services space – and banks in particular – could pick up a tip or two from the mother of all disruptors, Amazon.

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