The Confederation of British Industry says small businesses want to have a relationship with their bank and has called for a return to “Captain Mainwaring banking”.
Speaking at the British Bankers’ Association’s annual conference in London last week, CBI director general John Cridland said small businesses are “obsessed” with a return to relationship banking and are “perplexed” that politicians believe the availability of credit is the main issue facing them.
Cridland said: “Our small business members do not hate banks. They are perplexed, like a lot of the banks are, that backbench MPs are obsessed by the issue of lending to them. That is not what obsesses my small businesses.
“My small businesses are obsessed by relationship banking, or the lack of relationship banking.”
Cridland urged banks to begin developing a relationship with small businesses again, calling for a return to “Captain Mainwaring banking” in a reference to the bank manager in the 1970s sitcom Dad’s Army.
He said: “Now, one of my favourite television programmes is Dad’s Army. I think Dad’s Army is a British institution. So I make no apologies for saying that my small businesses want a return to ‘Captain Mainwaring banking’.
“And I know it is easy to be flippant about that but the core thing is that they want to choose a bank of their choice and to have a one-stop shop, and build a relationship where they can have an honest, two-way dialogue. That is what they feel they have lost.”