UK's small businesses remain reluctant to borrow -survey

LONDON Wed May 28, 2014 8:01pm EDT

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LONDON May 29 (Reuters) - Britain's small-and-medium sized businesses (SMEs) have not increased their appetite for borrowing, despite the proportion making a profit increasing in the last two quarters, a survey published on Thursday showed.

The SME Finance monitor found that in the first quarter 69 percent of the 5,000 firms surveyed were profitable in their previous 12 months trading, up from 64 percent in the first quarter of last year.

Forty-five percent of the businesses said they were planning to grow in the next 12 months. Twelve percent said they planned to apply for new or renewed bank facilities and had more confidence that their bank would agree. Some 82 percent were happy not to seek new finance over the past year.

"Banks would encourage more businesses to come forward as almost two-thirds of all applications for finance are approved - it's clear that firms are a lot more likely to be successful than they think," the British Bankers Association said.

Meanwhile, a new website backed by the Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce and Royal Bank of Scotland, was launched on Wednesday, giving the opinions of over 5,000 small British businesses surveyed about the performance of their banks.

Business Banking Insight is designed to show small businesses how different banks are rated by their peers and to show which lenders are providing different kinds of products and services, with the overall aim of improving competition.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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