The opening today is brought to you by my late father. You see he was a plastering sub-contractor who was a mild man but could be brought to ire by the subject of how he had been treated by the banks. He used to regale me with stories about how to keep the relationships going he would be forced to take loans he didn’t really want in the good times and then would find they would not only refuse loans in the bad but ask for one’s already given back. He only survived the 1980-82 recession because of an overdraft for company cars he was able to use for other purposes which they tried but were unable to end. So my eyes lit up on reading this from the BBC.
Banks have been criticised by firms and MPs for insisting on personal guarantees to issue government-backed emergency loans to business owners.
The requirement loads most of the risk that the loan goes bad on the business owner, rather than the banks.
It means that the banks can go after the personal property of the owner of a firm if their business goes under and they cannot afford to pay off the debt.
Whilst borrowers should have responsibility for the loans these particular ones are backed by the government.
According to UK Finance, formerly the British Bankers Association, the scheme should offer loans of up to £5m, where the government promises to cover 80% of losses if the money is not repaid. But, it notes: “Lenders may require security for the facility.”
In recent times there has been a requirement for banks to “Know Your Customer” or KYC for short. If they have done so then they would be able to sift something of the wheat from the chaff so to speak and would know which businesses are likely to continue and sadly which are not. With 80% of losses indemnified by the taxpayer they should be able to lend quickly, cheaply and with little or no security.
For those saying they need to be secure, well yes but in other areas they seem to fall over their own feet.
ABN AMRO Bank N.V. said Thursday that it will incur a significant “incidental” loss on one of its U.S. clients amid the new coronavirus scenario.
The bank said it is booking a $250 million pretax loss, which would translate into a net loss of around $200 million.
Well we now know why ABN Amro is leaving the gold business although we do not know how much of this was in the gold market. Oh and the excuse is a bit weak for a clearer of positions.
ABN AMRO blamed the loss on “unprecedented volumes and volatility in the financial markets following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.”
Returning to the issue of lending of to smaller businesses here were the words of Mark Carney back as recently as the 11th of this month when he was still Bank of England Governor.
I’ll just reiterate that, by providing much more flexibility, an ability to-, the banking system has been put in
a position today where they could make loans to the hardest hit businesses, in fact the entire corporate
sector, not just the hardest hit businesses and Small and Medium Sized enterprises, thirteen times of
what they lent last year in good times.
That boasting was repeated by the present Governor Andrew Bailey. Indeed he went further on the subject of small business lending.
there’s a very clear message to the banks-, and, by the way, which I think has been reflected in things that a number of the banks have already said.
Apparently not clear enough. But there was more as back then he was still head of the FCA.
One of the FCA’s core principles for business is treating customers fairly. The system is now, as we’ve said many times this morning, in a much more resilient state. We expect them to treat customers fairly. That’s what must happen. They know that. They’re in a position to do it. There should be no excuses now, and both we, the Bank of England, and the FCA, will be watching this very
Well I have consistently warned you about the use of the word “resilient”. What it seems to mean in practice is that they need forever more subsidies and help.
On top of that, we’re giving them four-year certainty on a considerable amount of funding at the cost of
bank rate. On top of that, they have liquidity buffers themselves, but, also, liquidity from the Bank of
England. So, they are in that position to support the economy. ( Governor Carney )
Since then they can fund even more cheaply as the Bank Rate is now 0.1%.
Meanwhile I have been contacted by Digibits an excavator company via social media.
Funding For Lending Scheme was crazy. We looked at this to finance a new CNC machine tool in 2013. There were all sorts of complicated (and illogical) strings attached and, at the end of the day, the APR was punitive.
I asked what rate the APR was ( for those unaware it is the annual interest-rate)?
can’t find record of that, but it was 6% flat in Oct 2013. Plus you had to ‘guarantee’ job creation – a typical top-down metric that makes no sense in SME world. IIRC 20% grant contribution per job up to maximum of £15k – but if this didn’t work out you’d risk paying that back.
As you can see that was very different to the treatment of the banks and the company was worried about the Red Tape.
The grant element (which theoretically softened the blow of the high rate) was geared toward creating jobs, but that is a very difficult agreement (with teeth) to hold over the head of an SME and that contribution could have been clawed back.
There is a lot going on here so let me start with the tactical issues. Firstly the Bank of England has cut back on its daily QE buying from the £10.2 billion peak seen on both Friday and Monday. It is now doing three maturity tranches ( short-dated, mediums and longs) in a day and each are for £1 billion.
Yet some still want more as I see Faisal Islam of the BBC reporting.
Ex top Treasury official @rjdhughes
floated idea in this v interesting report of central bank – (ie Bank of England) temporarily funding Government by buying bonds directly, using massive increase in Government overdraft at BoE – “ways & means account”
Some of you may fear the worst from the use of “top” and all of you should fear the word “temporarily” as it means any time from now to infinity these days.
This could be justified on separate grounds of market functioning/ liquidity of key markets, in this case, for gilts/ Government bonds. There have been signs of a lack of demand at recent auctions…
Faisal seems unaware that the lack of demand is caused by the very thing his top official is calling for which is central bank buying! Even worse he seems to be using the Japanese model where the bond market has been freezing up for some time.
“more formal monetary support of the fiscal response will be required..prudent course of action is yield curve control, where Bank can create fiscal space for Chancellor although if tested this regime may mutate into monetary financing”
Those who have followed my updates on the Bank of Japan will be aware of this.
Hopefully my late father is no longer spinning quite so fast in his Memorial Vault ( these things have grand names). That is assuming ashes can spin! We seem to be taking a familiar path where out of touch central bankers claim to be boosting business but we find that the cheap liquidity is indeed poured into the banks. But it seems to get lost as the promises of more business lending now morph into us seeing more and cheaper mortgage lending later. That boosts the banks and house prices in what so far has appeared to be a never ending cycle. Meanwhile the Funding for Lending Scheme started in the summer of 2012 so I think we should have seen the boost to lending to smaller businesses by now don’t you?
Meanwhile I see everywhere that not only is QE looking permanent my theme of “To Infinity! And Beyond” has been very prescient. No doubt we get more stories of “Top Men” ( or women) recommending ever more. Indeed it is not clear to me that a record in HM Treasury and the position below qualifies.
he joined the International Monetary Fund in 2008 where he headed the Fiscal Affairs Department’s Public Finance Division and worked on fiscal reform in a range of crisis-hit advanced, emerging, and developing countries.