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FSB team grill local bank chiefs on SME issues

Bank closures, access to finance and the reduction in cashpoint facilities were all on the agenda at a special meeting between local bankers and FSB representatives held  in the Cotswolds.

The Cirencester meeting, initiated and chaired by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the Cotswolds MP, bought together senior officials from four local banks and a three-man team from the Gloucestershire and West of England area of the FSB.

The idea of the meeting was to let the local bank chiefs know of the feelings and experiences of FSB members about banking issues that directly affect them with the rising number of bank closures dominating discussions as the FSB team outlined the difficulties faced by many small business owners when they lose their local branch – particularly if it is the only viable bank within their town/village.

The FSB  described the meeting as being “a lively and open discussion” with the representatives from HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and Handelsbanken and  Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP said he was looking forward to chairing a repeat meeting later in the year to help develop the relationship between local businesses and the bank teams they deal with.

Russell Warner, the FSB’s Gloucestershire Area Lead, said he felt the meeting had gone very well.

‘’This meeting was a very useful exchange of views where we able to discuss a number of the subjects which are most important to our members in the small business community. We felt it was important that the bank representatives heard, for example, how bank closures and what many see as the lack of personal contact between small business owners and their bank representatives impacts SME owners.

‘’We were grateful to our members who gave us their experiences of working with local banks and we will continue to meet with representatives from the local banking community to insure that the voice of the small business owner is heard by those who can have a direct impact on their finances and business growth.”

The FSB’s team Russell Warner (Gloucestershire Area Lead), Iain Wallis (south West Policy Lead) and Sam Holliday (Development Manager) are pictured here at the meeting with Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP and bank representatives.