The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Banks struggle to find the SME factor

Allegations against RBS’s treatment of struggling small and medium-sized enterprises have once again cast a harsh light on banks’ treatment of these companies. While banks deal with zombie borrowers and tout loans at fat margins to stellar SME credits that don’t want them, it is SMEs in the middle ground that need more help.

Last autumn Euromoney ran a conference that brought together SME borrowers, banks and alternative providers of finance to debate the growing role of new institutional lenders in filling the funding gapfor small and mid-cap corporates left by a deleveraging banking system.

Graeme Charnock, chief financial officer of UK ports operator Peel Ports, seemed to speak for many SMEs when he described the difficulties they faced in refinancing credit previously made abundantly available by the banks. With £1 billion of refinancing to do by the end of 2013 and an additional £300 million of capex to fund, the company had tried to get ahead of the problem a year early. "It was clear we couldn’t do all our refinancing with existing banks. That was a non-starter. As well as the major UK players we had a lot of European banks in those earlier facilities that were no longer with us."

Peel Ports scoured the market for other options. It was pleased to find some appetite from asset-hungry banks from outside the region, notably in the US and Australia. It secured a European Investment Bank facility, which gave a halo effect, attracting other lenders to financing its capex project and also brought welcome flexibility on terms and maturity.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?