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By Andrew James

It is fitting in a way that the last blog written in part to publicise Finance in Cornwall should be about a finance provider that I understand were involved in the first Finance in Cornwall event and may even have been ever-presents.  They are definitely an ‘alternative financier’ that we think of when approached by clients; specifically those that may have been turned away by the high street bank.

SWIG in their own words

Using text sent into us by John Peters, SWIG’s Managing Director, I overview SWIG Finance’s position in the finance market place.

  • SWIG Finance is part of a national network of CDFIS (which stands for Community Development Finance Institutions) – and is the only one lending to businesses in the Southwest. This means it is our mission to provide finance where it is most needed to support local businesses that have the potential to create and secure jobs for the benefit of the communities in which they are based
  • Because they have their own capital as well access to other sources of finance, they have our own lending discretions. This means they can look at the whole picture, and not make a decision based on last years’ accounts or background collateral. Indeed, by using the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme, we commonly lend where there is no security available
  • At a recent meeting with a team Business Bank Managers, John was asked to explain how SWIG Finance differs to other alternative finance providers operating in the Southwest. He answered that we are interested in engaging with the customers that you like, but your underwriters don’t
  • You won’t find SWIG Finance on any of the national bank referral portals. In their view, signposting to a list of other potential funders isn’t a solution for many small business owners, who want someone to talk to about their business and its needs. The referral scheme – which requires banks to refer any business declined for funding to one of four online funding platforms – has only had very limited success; according to figures published by the Treasury, between 2016 and 2018, 19,000 businesses have been referred via the scheme but only 900 have been granted funding
  • SWIG Finance whilst harnessing “fin-tech” to support their lending operations, their business managers personally engage with all applicants, and meet with everyone they take to credit. They do this so that we know our customers and have confidence that the loan request being made is right for the customer as well as SWIG Finance.

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