To say the last six months have been challenging for businesses is something of an understatement; for many, income fell drastically overnight and then began the wading through the various government schemes to ascertain what support might be available, whether that be a grant, deferred tax, rate relief or the various loan schemes, to name but a few.


As of 16th August, over £35bn had been approved across almost 1.2m facilities under BBLS. The CBILS figures were just short of £14bn and 60k and the CLBILS £3.5bn and 500 respectively. 


This volume of applications leads to severe pressure on the banks and most shut their doors to any new lending, other than their existing customers applying for these schemes. Fortunately for some, there are several alternative providers of CBILS facilities, able and willing to support.


However, time is running out to apply for these schemes with BBLS due to end on the 4th November, CBILS on the 30th September and CLBILS on 20th October. Though the government retains the right to extend these periods, there has been no mention of such at the time of writing.


For the team at Prosperity Commercial (part of the Prosperity Wealth Group) they have noted a decline in the number of enquiries for such schemes and an upturn in the types of enquiries they were receiving pre-lockdown; property investors looking to acquire new property and/or refinance existing debt, business owners looking to purchase premises, working capital facilities to assist with expansion and bridging loans for those that need to move on an opportunity quickly.


Banks, challenger banks and alternative lenders are starting to open their doors again for new business though most have updated their credit policies to reflect the perceived changes to their risk e.g. reductions in maximum loan-to-value and exclusions of certain sectors. Particularly hard to place currently, though not impossible, are those looking to acquire or refinance a commercial property, either for their own use or as an investment, where the trade operates in the retail or hospitality sector.


“I think it is fair to say that the world of finance will be harder to navigate over the coming months as banks and lenders decide what businesses they have an appetite to support, said Steph Cooper, an Independent Financial Adviser and member of the Prosperity Commercial Team.


“With the closure of the government schemes imminent (hopefully having served their purpose for those businesses in need) we look forward to seeing more lenders opening up for new business and conventional borrowing levels rising as we continue to adapt to the changes that face us.”


Investment Director at Prosperity Wealth, Stew Bicknell told Prosper, “Despite a record-breaking contraction in GDP in many nations, investors have focused more on the speed of the recovery which has been slightly better than estimated. Many companies have fared better than feared during the darkest days of lockdown. At the time of writing, around 50% of the world’s largest companies have reported their Q2 2020 earnings with the majority beating or matching analyst expectations. 


“Technology has again been in focus and has outperformed other industries. The giants of new industry such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google all reported stellar earnings. This has been coupled with good results for hard and software companies that aren’t as widely known.”


Meanwhile, Alison Bradley, Managing Director of Central Business Finance and former Chief Executive of The Arrow Fund Ltd; a West Midlands Regional Loan fund, told Prosper, “As we come out of lockdown and government support for SME’s diminishes many businesses will face new challenges in obtaining funding. 


“Already some funders have withdrawn from the market and others are being particularly cautious and selective. This may have an effect on businesses looking to grow and develop, in particular, impacting day to day cashflow.   


“In addition, for those businesses looking to undertake a Management Buy-Out / Management Buy-In or a standard business purchase, there are many finance solutions for businesses which sometimes go beyond the High Street Banks.


“Here at Central Business Finance, we have access to over 100 different types of funding. This gives an advantage to business owners rather than applying to funders who only offer one product or service.  


“This particularly works well when several facilities are ‘packaged’ together to complete a deal. In these challenging times, this is what is most needed and with a vast array of finance alternatives in the marketplace, businesses would be well advised to consider utilising finance experts that have access to a good variety of lenders and alternative options to find the most appropriate funding for the business.”


Packaged Funding 

Water Treatment Company in Shropshire £400k

Management Buy-In/share purchase.

This transaction was put together mid lockdown and was funded via a mix of facilities, including BCRS, invoice discounting, asset finance and a start-up loan.  When the company purchase was complete a cashflow loan was put in place for on-going trading.


Manufacturing Company in Birmingham £500k

Manufacturing Buy-Out/Share purchase.

This Funding was provided by a Peer to Peer loan and a loan against outstanding debtors.


Consultancy business – Birmingham £400k

Management Buy-Out/share purchase.

A Package funding including start-up loan, BCRS, cashflow loan and a deferred facility was put in place.


Post Office/Stores – West Midlands £535k purchase-including freehold, goodwill and stock.

This was financed by a mix of a commercial mortgage, start-up loan and stock loan. 


Start-up loans 

These are still available and can be used as above towards a business purchase.  They can also be used for actual start-up businesses and for the development of businesses up to 2 years old.  The loan can be up to £25k per director/shareholder.


Butchers – Stafford £70k

Lease/goodwill purchase via a mix of start-up loan and unsecured bank loan. 


Post office Stoke £40k

Lease purchase, £25k start-up loan used.


Consultancy – Birmingham £40k

Via start-up loan for business development/business 6 months old.


Innovator Visa Scheme 

Working with overseas partners there are investments for businesses via a Home Office Scheme.  This is normally by an unsecured loan and at competitive rates and enables the investor to obtain a UK Visa.


Business Consultants – London

Obtained £200k via the scheme recently for business development.



Central Business Finance continues to obtain grant funding for a variety of businesses where appropriate.


Manufacturers – Telford

£100k grant obtained for premises expansion and installation of Powder Coating Plant – 10 new jobs to be created. 


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