Business Banking
No such thing as a free lunch!

I was sitting the other night flicking through all the TV channels as there was only Football on the main channels and I came across the “Bank of Dave”, a documentary produced by Channel 4. Dave Fishwick, an entrepreneur from Burnley decided to challenge the High Street Banks and, to cut a long story short, finished up opening his form of bank lending to small businesses. He visited each business and personally decided whether to lend money or not. He was also keen to not only lend the money but try and support the business with good old fashioned help and advice.

This got me thinking about banking in general. When my parents started in business they had the same bank manager for years. He would visit the business a couple of times a year and would to work with them, rather than just lend money.

As things progressed through the 90’s, the whole banking business changed and it became very different. Firstly the managers suddenly got moved from branch to branch, then all they wanted to do was sell you other products, insurances etc., then they wanted all overdrafts to be moved onto business loans and needed more and more security. The whole business became totally impersonal.

Then we get Internet Banking where you became an account number and nothing else, only able to communicate with anybody through a call centre. This made it even more impersonal. I remember one of the big four advertising about being the local bank and wanting to offer a personal banker, as if it was something new!

I was talking with a northern retailer a while ago and he was saying that they had moved away from Internet banking and free banking because, as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and decided to use the local Building Society who were offering business banking.

It was the best thing he had done. He had a personal contact who understood local issues and was keen to visit his business and find ways to help. Even when he had a bad year, they were happy to support him and work with him going forward. This is how we need banks to work!

On another subject involving banking it makes me mad when you see how long it takes credit card firms to process payments. In general, if you take a payment in your shop on Friday or Saturday it takes until the following Wednesday for it to appear as cleared funds in your account and if it’s in May when we have bank holidays it’s even worse. I really don’t understand why? When the payment is made in your shop the modern machines authorise the payment in seconds, therefore the funds are guaranteed so why isn’t it paid into your account the following day.

Not that I want to get political, but if the Government want to help small businesses they should stop these payment processing companies taking3 or 4 days to clear funds. If we got cleared funds the next day, just think how much quicker you could pay suppliers – and who is making a fortune on the millions of payments that are in the system for days?

Something else I have noticed is that banks take debit payment out of your account on a Saturday, but don’t credit payments coming in on a Saturday can anybody explain that one to me?

Lastly, just to say I hope everyone is planning to be at Moda this month ………….. No excuses you know the dates, so give the suppliers respect and spend some time there.

Please email and give me your thoughts or subjects you would like me to natter on about in future editions to Misfitfootwear@hotmail.com.

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