YORKSHIRE Bank has created a 50-strong team across Yorkshire as part of efforts to significantly increase its support for small firms across the UK.
The bank is expanding the services and products on offer to businesses – typically those with annual turnover of less than £1m or borrowing less than £250,000.
Measures will include free banking offers for start-ups and switchers and a new small business service.
The bank said Britain’s 5m small businesses were a key driver of the economy – representing 35% of the turnover of all UK businesses and 55% of all business current accounts. In addition, an estimated 400,000 new businesses start trading each year.
Gary Lumby (pictured), director of small business for Yorkshire Bank in the region, said that many businesses would welcome the return of local, relationship-based banking that enabled swift lending decisions and created networking opportunities.
The new team of small business managers would concentrate on building and supporting relationships with businesses such as shopkeepers, retailers, tradesmen, small manufacturing and engineering firms as well as professionals such as accountants or architects.
Local small business managers will be located in Yorkshire Bank branches and Financial Solutions Centres – initially at sites including Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, Halifax, York and Doncaster.
The bank expects the roll-out of the new service will see a significant number of new appointments to the team over the next three years.
Said Mr Lumby: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and economy.
“We’ve been listening to them and have developed our business to help them develop theirs. We see a real opportunity to offer a credible alternative – establishing local relationships to help small businesses flourish, with local knowledge and services that suit their needs in branch, online or by phone.
“The evidence suggests that the small business market is under-served by the ‘big banks’.
“We see this as a great time to correct that and build on our already successful business banking approach.
“These moves underline our commitment to UK businesses.”