Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Santander expands trade finance team

Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking is extending its support for businesses looking to expand through international trade, with the appointment of three regional specialists.

Peter Smith, Chris Lynch and Simon Dunn have joined Santander’s trade finance team as product directors for the north west, for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and for the north east and Cumbria respectively. This brings the team up to 18.

Peter has 35 years’ banking experience specialising in trade finance, having previously worked for HSBC and Fortis. Chris has been working in the sector for 15 years in a career that includes roles at Barclays, Lloyds and RBS, and Simon has more than 23 years’ banking experience with Lloyds Banking Group, with hands-on experience working with exporting and importing businesses.

All three will be responsible for developing and growing the business in their respective regions. They will work with local partners to provide the best possible advice and service to businesses with turnovers of up to £50m.

The team is led by Martin Hodges, head of trade finance. He has been actively growing Santander’s trade finance division since its inception in 2009. In the past three years, he has grown the business from a team of two and a handful of customers to a multi-million pound lending specialist supporting hundreds of smaller businesses across the UK.

Martin said:It is great to welcome such experienced team members at such an exciting time for the bank. Over the past few years Santander has been establishing itself as a major supporter of businesses trading overseas, and with this expanded team in place I look forward to extending this support to businesses across the north, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“A strong regionally-based team enables us to build local knowledge and treat all of our customers on an individual basis, getting to know their businesses and international aspirations so we can put together the best financial solutions to help them meet these aims. Our partnerships with organisations like UK Trade and Investment enable to provide a holistic relationship with our customers, focusing on support and advice over the long- term.”

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Chancellor must pull out all the stops to support business growth

Ahead of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement next month, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has called on the government to take forward targeted measures to boost business growth in the UK. The BCC continues to support the aims of the deficit reduction plan, but believes the government must pull out all the stops to enable British businesses to access new markets, invest and create jobs.
The BCC submission to the chancellor proposes the following:
Measures to promote business growth and exports
  • Implementation of a Growth Voucher scheme. The £100m scheme could give 20,000 businesses with clear growth plans up to £5,000 each to get support to negotiate the planning system, advice on accessing finance or help growing their staff. Businesses applying for the scheme would need a demonstrable business growth plan.
  • Implementation of an Export Voucher scheme. Together with Growth Vouchers, targeted Export Vouchers would build confidence and help to kick-start the rebalancing of the UK economy. Export Vouchers would encourage businesses on the cusp of exporting, or those looking to expand into new markets, to seek out and access the support they need from public or private-sector sources, with minimum bureaucracy.
  • Greater support for UK exporters in overseas markets. The BCC proposes the government spends a further £100m per annum on in-market support for UK exporters in 18 key global markets, linking businesses to new opportunities by adding in-country trade advisers, embedding them with British Chambers overseas and implementing a quality accreditation scheme.
John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said: "The chancellor's Autumn Statement must include tough decisions to prioritise growth without adverse effects on the government's deficit reduction programme. We believe that resources need to be re-prioritised to support business growth, international commerce and the building of houses and infrastructure here at home.
“Our message to the chancellor is clear. Business will lead Britain's economic recovery, but it needs targeted support and a confidence boost from the government. Ministers must be bold and take some unpopular decisions, including a shift of resources from welfare spending towards crucial growth measures. It won’t be easy, but the interests of the nation must be put first so we can ensure a bright future for our children and grandchildren for years to come.
“Firms up and down the country have been looking for ways to grow, export to new markets and take on more staff in the face of weak growth and continued problems in the eurozone. While recent GDP data will give many businesses a confidence boost, the government still has work to do to ensure that our economic recovery is sustainable over the long-term."