Banks letting down SMEs on foreign exchange » SMEInsider

Banks letting down SMEs on foreign exchange

More than half of SME owners say their bank doesn’t understand their foreign exchange needs, impeding their plans for international expansion.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK SMEs that trade overseas found that, of those using a bank for their currency transfers, 52 per cent felt their bank did not understand their currency transfer requirements.

Worryingly, 53 per cent said they didn’t understand the charges their bank added to international transfers. Almost half (49 per cent) reported that their bank didn’t offer them a complete range of foreign exchange products.


Key findings

Other key findings from the survey, conducted by currency experts World First and commissioned by Which?, include:

  • 30 per cent said they did not think their bank acted in their best interests when managing their foreign exchange needs
  • 65 per cent of SMEs still use a bank for their international currency needs
  • 49 per cent of these use the same bank they have their business’s current account with
  • 65 per cent of SMEs would switch from their current bank provider if they knew of a credible alternative
  • 87 per cent of SMEs view international expansion as one of the best ways to grow their business highlighting the importance of FX and having a currency strategy


Break down barriers

Jonathan Quin, CEO of World First, said: “SMEs, the engine room of our economy, are telling us that they are not being served well by the banks when it comes to fulfilling their foreign currency needs.

“If we want UK businesses to achieve their potential, particularly those in the scale-up phase and eyeing up international expansion, then we need to break down as many barriers for them as possible.

“More than half of businesses in our survey say that they have struggled to expand internationally and even if 1 per cent of this is due to a lack of support from their FX provider, then this is simply too many.”

“UK SMEs collectively transfer around £78bn a year… if [they] all saved just 1 per cent on their annual FX bill, this would amount to a whopping £780m in total savings.”