New research from focused SME (Small-and-Medium sized Enterprises) lender, Bank of Cyprus UK, indicates that 57% of SMEs* in the Midlands never see their bank manager from one year to the next.
A survey of 500 senior managers from British SMEs, the engine room of the economy, revealed this sector has little contact with their banks, with only a fifth (22%) seeing their bank manager on a yearly basis, and just 7% seeing their bank manager every few months. 57% of respondents claim never to see their bank manager.
However, with the onset of the recession**, the frequency of visits by Midlands based SMEs who do see their bank manager on a regular basis has more than trebled, increasing from just under than one in twenty (4%) having once or twice monthly visits, to nearly one in seven (14%).
Tony Leahy, Head of Communications at Bank of Cyprus UK , said: “The fact remains that a large number of SMEs are not taking the time to meet with their bank manager, a worrying insight especially in the current climate. It is clearly a negative indicator of the quality of relationship that exists between many businesses and their banks.”
When dealing with their bank manager, nearly a third (31%) feel that they are either treated like ‘just another customer’ or that their bank manager has a very poor understanding of their business. Fewer than one in ten (8%) feel their bank manager has a very good understanding of their business.
Tony Leahy continued: “It is fundamental that banks have a good working relationship with their business customers and see them on a regular basis. We aim to have an open and honest relationship with our customers and therefore encourage our managers to take time to understand their customers businesses and the challenges they face. Our customers value this and it has been fundamental to our success as a business bank”.