Cambridge & Counties Bank will lend to 'good-quality' pubs

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

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Bank lending: Cambridge & Counties Bank is willing to lend to pubs
Bank lending: Cambridge & Counties Bank is willing to lend to pubs
Cambridge & Counties Bank has issued £40m in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a handful to pub licensees.

In its first year, the bank lent to 100 SMEs. Three of these were pubs, one of which was a multiple operator who borrowed around £1m. The bank, which launched in June 2012, aims to lend £100m by the year’s end.

Rachel Curtis-Bowen, head of marketing at Cambridge & Counties Bank, told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ that although the bank is not a big lender in the pub trade, it is willing to look at each case and will lend to good-quality pubs.

“While it [the pub sector] is not part of our list of sectors to target, we do consider and have lent to good-quality pubs,” she said.

“We are not the cheapest and are not lending to just anyone, but we are prepared to take slightly higher risks. As a new institution, we are very heavily monitored.”

She explained that the bank uses a manual underwriting process, instead of computers, to look at each borrower on a case-by-case basis. “It might be a case of ‘computer says no’ at another bank, and they might be declined for no good reason,” said Curtis-Bowen.

“I think we are more flexible; there are many banks who will just say no to pubs. We don’t really do pubs, but if it’s a good one we will.”

She added that the bank will look at the quality of the premises, the individual’s track record and the financial situation of the pub.

Chairman Paul ffolkes Davis said: “Mainstream banks have been too pre-occupied with capital and legacy issues, which are having a negative impact on their ability to lend."

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