The Lord Mayor of the City of London has called on banks to increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Michael Bear has announced that he is piling 'huge pressure' onto banks to improve lending to SMEs in light of the current economic climate. With interest rates predicted to rise over the course of this year, improved lending will be of particular importance to SMEs, many of whom have already been hit hard by the recession.
He said to the Yorkshire Post, "There needs to be a concerted effort to make sure that there is an incentive to grow business and that SMEs, which are going to be the main engine, are targeted, and that banks do lend working capital to businesses that want to grow.
"I see the banks having a key role in stimulating that process of growth. We put huge pressure on the banks to release more funds for the SME sector – obviously on a prudent basis," he added.
Mr Bear also warned that adding more costs onto financial services companies by continuing with 'excessive regulation' was not helping matters. Whilst he agreed there was a definite need for the sector to be reformed, creating more rules was not the right way to go about it.
"We need smarter, better regulation but too much bureaucracy just adds to the cost of doing business," he added.
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