Welcome to the first of many Back British Business updates on our campaign.
We are pleased to give you all an update on the progress we have made in our first two weeks of launching the Back British Business campaign.
Within our first two weeks of launch, we have gained a lot of traction from mainstream media with an upcoming interview on BBC Radio 4 ‘You and Yours’. Articles in the Sunday Times and the Daily Mirror are helping us shift the narrative away from fraudulent Bounce Back Loans being taken out, to an approach driven by the reality: many small struggling businesses were misled by the banks and the Government in getting people to take out these loans.
For example, Anne Mari Niemla is the owner of a struggling print shop business based in Leicestershire. The stop/start nature of consecutive lockdowns left Anne-Mari only being able to pay back the interest on her Company’s loan. This has saddled Anne-Mari with an interest only repayment for up to seven years, with the whole of the loan still repayable at the end of that term. The lasting impact of these loans and the idle response from the banks and Government is resulting in small business owners struggling to keep their businesses afloat, with no metric that considers the devastating personal impact of these burdensome loan conditions on the deteriorating mental health of many people.
The disregard that has been shown towards micro businesses, freelancers and company directors is unprecedented when compared with the many others who have had grant support over this lockdown period. These people, which number close to 3.8 million, now face levels of debt that no other group has had to worry about. Not only does this impact the individual daily lives of business owners, but also the commercial repercussions that will ensue with letting all these small businesses go under is immense. Community businesses will be lost forever unless action is taken. This cannot be brushed under the carpet with a false narrative of “firms wanting to avoid paying back their loans”.
Our sole mission is to level the playing field. Our presence on Times’s radio emphasised the impact these mis-sold government backed loans are having on businesses.
We had the chance to speak with Blair Barnet and highlight the harsh reality that many small business owners face because of the Government’s lack of support and understanding. Blair is a company director who took out a £22,000 Bounce Back Loan to support her media business during the lockdown period. As is the case with many others, Blair took out this loan with the intention of paying it back as soon as business picked up again, with the Government promise of restrictions being lifted before too long. The continued lockdown measures meant that many, such as Blair, were unable to trade to earn the income necessary to pay her loan back.
One in nine small businesses received support from financial institutions or the Government. These small businesses are the ones now facing a severe debt burden amid attempting to recover from three lockdowns and the current economic turmoil following Brexit.
Back British Business believes you should be able to legally challenge your Bounce Back Loans with your Lender and that in most cases there are good grounds to do so.
Challenging your loan agreement with your Lender may seem daunting at first, but if we consider what this process entails for small business owners such as Blair, it highlights not only how she is protected in this process but also how we manage the case for her. We have engaged with her bank on her behalf, and we are managing all communications with the bank concerning her arrears, and why we say the loan was mis-sold to her and should not now have to be paid back.
The first step to challenging your Bounce Back Loan repayment with the Lender is through our correspondence with your bank. Our initial contact details the legal and factual background of an individual case, like Blair’s, and sets out on what basis we are challenging the validity of her Bounce Back Loan. We will then review the bank’s response and if we do not get any satisfaction, we will take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman.
Whilst we are aware that many of you will have concerns as to the possible repercussions this may have on the relationship between you and your bank – we are here to assure you that we are one phone call or email away from assisting you with any possible breaches of its regulated obligations that your Bank may be committing.
Your Questions Answered
We will provide you with regular updates, looking at an issue or concern that has been raised and provide answers for you.
“I have two loans and a personal account with my bank. Can the bank take money from my personal account to pay off the loan?”
A bank should not be using a personal account to repay a business debt. If that is the case, or if this is an issue that concerns you, do not hesitate to get in contact with us and we will assist you with any queries you may have.
The only time such action should take place is if the money has been transferred to a personal account from the business account and the money has not been used for business purposes. However, if a bank takes money from your personal account that has not had a transfer from your business account, then in most cases this will be a breach of the banking code which we will be happy to assist you in resolving.
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us, you can find out how to contact us here.