NACFB Commercial Finance Expo Review

This week rebuildingsociety decamped to the NACFB’s commercial finance expo at the NEC in Birmingham. It’s fair to say we weren’t the only alternative finance provider, but encouragingly for the NACFB and business owners across the UK, there was an even spread of traditional and alternative providers. Now is a good time to get business finance for a broad range of businesses.

There were more people present this year than last and awareness of our brand and proposition was strong. The opening questions have changed from ‘what do you do?’ and ‘what is crowdfunding / peer-to-business lending’ to ‘how are you different to other providers?’

We always say we focus on offering a personal service to brokers because we understand that every case is different and brokers value flexibility. Very often the way a case is presented can be the determining factor between an application being accepted or rejected, rather than the underlying health of the business, so we want to help brokers and their clients get that right.

A common theme from the conference was a lack of new blood coming in to the commercial finance market. Brokers are getting older, so there was debate around the future of the market, with so few being trained traditionally.

Another hot debate was the potential role of institutional finance in alternative markets. Funding Circle’s recent hook-up with Santander has accelerated the argument and because of the value platforms can offer it is more a question of when, not if, institutional money starts to flow into the commercial finance market through alternative providers.

A telling takeaway message was a stat from one of the seminars – 1 in 8 businesses can’t name a single alternative lender to banks. In some ways a strange way to mould the statistic, because that says 7 in 8 can…

Roll on the London event in November where we’ll be exhibiting again!

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