Lending to small businesses via brokers jumped 10% in 2022 to £45 billion, according to the annual survey results from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).
The survey, which features the insight from the trade body’s community of more than 2,000 commercial brokers and 160 lenders, reveals an average loan size of £563,000 in 2022, up 23% on 2021. Of the small businesses successfully funded, an average of 29% had been refused capital elsewhere.
Of the commercial lenders that operate both direct and broker-led business models, 70% of their new business came via the broker channel in 2022. The survey also reveals that lenders most commonly declined loan applications because they viewed a sector as ‘too risky’. The industries generating the largest proportion of loan enquiries in 2022 were property at 44%, followed by construction at 13%, and manufacturing at 9%.
Further findings reveal 88% of UK enterprises that borrowed via an intermediary were driven by growth ambitions, whereas only 12% of total borrowing was for reasons that imply more distressed factors.
Commenting on the findings, NACFB Chair Paul Goodman (pictured) said: "The results demonstrate clearly the value of intermediary-led lending to UK plc and endorse what the NACFB community has long known; that small businesses looking to access finance are often better served by enlisting the support of a commercial broker.
"With many lenders withdrawing their high-street presence, commercial finance brokers have firmly stepped into the role of the modern-day bank manager; but with the added benefit of providing a wider array of funding solutions to their clients."
Reflecting on the NACFB’s findings, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith MP said: “We welcome the significant contributions of brokers in connecting small and medium enterprises with lenders, which will support these businesses to grow and thrive. Access to finance is vital for the growth and investment plans of British businesses, helping to achieve the Prime Minister’s pledge to grow the economy and create opportunity across the UK.’’
Responding to the results, Bernie Skivington, Head of Origination & Relationship Management, Guarantee & Wholesale Solutions, at the British Business Bank, added: “It’s encouraging to see so many businesses securing funding through the NACFB’s network of brokers. These broker members are a vital source of origination for many of our delivery partners, and we look forward to building on our positive relationship with the NACFB as we work together to facilitate better access to finance for smaller UK businesses.”
The NACFB’s full 2022 survey results are available online at https://nacfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/NACFB-Membership-Survey-Report.pdf