Business Banking Insight, which is based on the responses of more than 5,000 businesses, reveals how bank services compare on a range of services and across different industries. The initiative is backed by business group the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as the British Bankers’ Association and the Government and is expected to be repeated at six-monthly intervals. Rather than giving a broad and sweeping overview, the website allows users to sort results by service offered (from asset finance to insurance and merchant services), size of business (sole trader, 1-9 employees, 10-249 employees). John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said: “Nearly 60 per cent of the UK workforce is employed by a small to medium sized business and 99 per cent of firms employ fewer than 49 people. “For the first time this ground-breaking website will give these economically vital firms what they need to be able to make better informed choices about the banks they choose and the products they offer.” It is hoped the initiative will introduce more competitiveness into the business banking sector which has been dogged by accusations of being unwilling to lend and offering poor service, particularly since the financial crisis. Speaking at the website’s launch, Anthony Browne, head of the British Bankers Association, said that banks welcomed measures to increase competition. John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “For many firms across the country, trust in the banking system has been severely damaged over recent years. “Despite a wider improvement in economic conditions, some businesses continue to express dissatisfaction with the level of service provided by banks, and many of these firms find themselves feeling discouraged from applying for finance. “The Business Banking Insight (BBI) is a vital tool for SMEs – as it will shine a light on how businesses are treated when they engage with banks.”
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