Help applying for finance

Unsuccessful lending applications and referrals

Banks are committed to supporting smaller businesses to do what they do best – drive economic growth and create jobs. Banks are agreeing between 80 and 85 per cent of the lending applications made by small and medium-sized firms. However, banks have an obligation to lend responsibly and there are times when a proposal does not meet the bank’s lending criteria, for example on grounds of affordability or past credit history. In some cases the bank may consider that the business is best suited to a type of finance that it does not provide. In other cases the bank may make an offer that is different to the amount and type of finance applied for, which the business chooses not to accept. If your bank lending application has been unsuccessful, there are several options available.

If you have made an unsuccessful application for finance from your bank – what are your options?

1. Appeal

If you’ve applied to your bank for any finance for your business and you have been turned down, you can lodge an appeal on the Better Business Finance website. You need to submit this within 30 days of your original application, and you will need to meet certain eligibility conditions which are explained on the website. The following banks are part of the appeals process: AMC, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, RBS, NatWest, Santander, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and First Trust Bank.

2. Referral to Government Designated Platforms

If a small and medium sized business makes an unsuccessful application for borrowing to a designated bank, the bank is obliged to offer the business a referral to the government designated online finance platforms, subject to eligibility. These platforms will seek to help you find a suitable finance provider that may be willing to offer the finance you need. Download our Factsheet or read the Small and Medium Sized Business (Finance Platforms) Regulations 2015.

3. Better Business Finance finder

If you’ve applied to your bank for any finance for your business and you have made an unsuccessful application, you could try the Better Business Finance Finder.

Better Business Finance provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs. Whether your business is seeking finance, or starting out or exporting abroad, we are here to help you find finance from the UK’s largest panel.

In partnership between UK Finance, the collective voice representing more than 250 banks and finance firms, and Finpoint, the UK’s leading business finance platform, we work hard so SMEs have easy access to suitable funding options. Because we know that more choice means a greater chance of getting the right finance for your business.

Created in 2011 by the major banks, Better Business Finance has delivered a £100 million boost to the UK economy to date. By working together to support SMEs, the major banks, UK Finance and Finpoint are setting a new industry standard for business finance.

Click here for more information about the Government Designated Platforms

Download the Referrals factsheet