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Iwoca’s growth shows SME hunger for credit as banks withdraw

Lending surveys suggest small businesses are reluctant to borrow even though banks approve most of their credit applications: but the reality is very different.


Christoph Rieche, co-founder and chief executive of iwoca

The latest independent report into small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) finance conducted by BDRC for the big UK banks, HM Treasury and small business federations was published on Thursday.

It found that almost half of UK SMEs can now be classed as permanent non-borrowers. Demand for finance remains muted. In 2017, just 5% of SMEs reported having applied for new or renewed loan or overdraft facilities. And although this is half the level seen in 2012 (11%), the report classes most SMEs as happy non-seekers of external finance.

Tell that to iwoca.

Since founding in 2012, iwoca, the specialist provider of working capital to small and micro businesses, has grown fast in its core markets of the UK, Germany and Poland.

The company has developed credit underwriting algorithms that draw data on small businesses’ underlying cash flows from merchant platforms among other sources.

It makes decisions on whether to extend short-term loans – ranging from £1,000 to £150,000, charging interest only on drawn amounts, with no early repayment fees, and typically used by businesses with fewer than 10 employees to fund stock purchases and working capital – in hours, rather than after weeks of form filling required by banks.

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