Finance · 20 June 2017

Female business owners value stronger ties with finance providers than males

It’s more important for women that finance providers understood their business model

Women who own and manage businesses are almost twice as likely to want a strong relationship with their finance providers than male counterparts, new research has shown.

Analysis from RateSetter Business Finance into the different priorities of female and male UK business owners found that 10.3 per cent of female owners sought a “strong” relationship with their finance providers, compared with 6.56 per cent of male owners.

Some 32.7 per cent of female owners aimed to find finance providers that understood their particular business model, compared to just 19 per cent of male owners, according to the study.

Commenting on the findings, director of RateSetter Commercial Finance, Paul Marston, said that bank branch closures could have more of an impact on female business owners than on male owners.

He said: “The drastic reduction of over 1,000 branches across the UK inevitably means that it’s become more difficult for banks to form a strong relationship with business customers and to get to know their businesses”.

A recent Federation of Small Business (FSB) report into the impact of bank branch closures on small businesses revealed that around 8,000 UK bank branches have closed in the last 25 years, with a further 50 per cent cut predicted over the next ten years.

The RateSetter research also revealed that fewer than half as many females than male business owners are confident about the future success of their company after Brexit.

Just ten per cent of female business leaders claimed that leaving the EU would be positive for their business. In contrast, twice that number – 21 per cent – of male business owners have an optimistic outlook about Brexit.

Marston went on to say: “Overall, it is clear that small business owners are not at all optimistic about the impact of Brexit, but we were rather surprised to find such a difference between the views of male and female business people.”

The findings come as the chancellor, Phillip Hammond, delivered a speech to Bankers and Merchants of the City of London at Mansion House on 20 June, in which he confirmed the likelihood of Britain having to abide by EU customs rules for at least a short-term period after Brexit.

Reacting to Hammond’s speech, FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “The chancellor has listened to small business calls for a transition period after Brexit.

“Any sudden cliff edge preventing small firms from accessing the workers they need or disrupting trade with the EU single market would be hugely damaging for small firms and the wider economy.

“The chancellor’s speech is a positive sign that he is listening to the needs of the business community as we head into Brexit negotiations and the next parliament. It’s crucial that small businesses are given time and support after the UK leaves the EU to prepare for new arrangements.”

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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