Business and Management

Improving financing services to SMEs by a high street bank in the UK

Through a joint research project between Julian Frankish and Richard Roberts with academics Professor David Storey from Business and Management and Dr Alex Coad from SPRU, a well-known high street bank was able to improve its services offered to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and increase the bank’s profitability.

Stack of credit cards

The research looked at the number of start-ups set up each year, survival rates, factors influencing survival and predictability of growth, as well as whether entrepreneurship was a route to increased prosperity for those living in deprived areas.

The findings led the bank to implement new policies and practices across a range of activities:

  • More specific targeting of products and services, and segmentation of customers;
  • No free banking to switchers (saving the bank approximately £15m per annum);
  • Advice and training for existing customers;
  • Greater engagement with the government on data requirements – to become the industry’s lead in this area.

As a result of the collaborative research and ensuing changes to the way the bank targets customers and from changes in the provision of free banking and advice services, the high street bank in question has benefitted financially by £21m to £25m annually. In addition more small-business owners have been able to gain access to this bank’s account facilities. 

Related papers

Coad, A.; Frankish, J.S.; Roberts, R.G.; and Storey, D.J. (2013) Growth paths and survival chances: an application of Gambler’s Ruin theory, Journal of Business Venturing, 28(5): 615–32.

Frankish, J.S.; Roberts, R.G.; Coad, A.; Spears, T.C.; and Storey, D.J. (2013) Do entrepreneurs really learn? Or do they just tell us that they do?, Industrial and Corporate Change, 22(1): 73–106.

Frankish, J.S.; Roberts, R.G.; Coad, A.; and Storey, D.J. (2013) Is entrepreneurship a route out of deprivation?, Regional Studies, 47(6): 993–4.

Coad, A.; Frankish, J.S.; Roberts, R.G.; and Storey, D.J. (2014) Are firm growth paths random? A reply to “Firm growth and the illusion of randomness”, Journal of Business Venturing Insights 3: 5-8