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Call for more competition among banks

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Banks need to return to their normal lending criteria in 2010, a leading business group has said, and there should be more competition among business loan providers.

In its New Year statement, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged the case for much greater competition in the banking sector.

Small firms have consistently complained that access to credit and funding has been an ongoing problem.

In particular, the FSB said it wanted to see more finance options made available to small firms, including services from non-UK retail banks.

Another option for broadening access to finance for small businesses would be to turn Post Offices into Post Banks and Regional Development Agencies into regional finance houses which would push the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and regional venture funds, the FSB added.

With employment another key issue for the coming year, reforms to JobCentre Plus are essential if SMEs are to create much-needed extra jobs, the FSB continued.

Each centre should include a dedicated business manager who can focus on the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, and to reconnect jobseekers with the country’s job providers.

Additionally, the FSB argued that the apprenticeship programme should be simplified and better promoted