Banks will still invest in pubs

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Related tags: Pubs, Lloyds banking group, Hbos

Banks across the country have not ruled out lending money to pubs, despite belt tightening due to the credit crunch.Last week, thepublican.com...

Banks across the country have not ruled out lending money to pubs, despite belt tightening due to the credit crunch.

Last week, thepublican.com​ reported that a Devon licensee said HSBC staff turned his application for extra funds down because the bank was not lending to pubs or restaurants.

Gerry Hall, who runs freehouse Champion of Wales in Appledore, said he had been told pubs were too "vulnerable".

HSBC said it did not have a blanket policy and that it was reviewing pubs on a case by case basis. Other major lenders have said they are doing the same.

Mark Kenyon, relationship director and head of licensed trade at Barclays, maintained that pubs were worth investing in.

"The pub trade is a resilient sector," he said. "It has had many factors to contend with such as competition from the off-trade and the smoking ban but that has also provided opportunities."

He said over the last 12-18 months, he had provided loans for licensees choosing to invest in smoking shelters or to increase their food provision.

Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, said he was confident pubs could still get loans.

"Any small business is going to face problems at the minute. But if they put forward a secure business plan, which probably will include more food than wet, there's no reason for banks not to loan to pubs," he said.

A spokesman for Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) agreed, saying that if a successful pub needed a loan, it would "absolutely" grant one. He added: "This is true no matter what sector the individual business operates in."

A Lloyds TSB spokesman warned that now is a trying time for many specialist sectors. He said: "We want to do the best we can to support good business, including pubs."

Related topics: Other operators

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