Is the window and door sector being unfairly treated?
Late last year, The Window Company (Contracts) changed banks from one of the ‘big four’ to the much less well known Swedish firm Handelsbanken.
Whilst I had never been unhappy with the service we had received from our previous provider, I was driven to change by the fact that they told me in no uncertain terms that the construction sector was on their list of ‘poor risks’ and that they could not support an application from us for funding.
I’m sure many within the industry would share my surprise that even a highly profitable, award winning businesses like ours, which has a full order book and had just achieved year on year growth of 40%, could be turned down flat because of a blanket ban imposed by ‘head office’.
Bearing in mind that the funding was required to give us sufficient capital to take on a new million pound plus contract, I’ve asked myself since then whether this attitude from the traditional banking sector is holding back other businesses like ours in the window and door market?
Aren’t we hearing constantly that the construction industry is now outperforming the rest of the economy, that new housebuilding will be fast tracked through the planning process and even that the government is now planning to invest in overhauling 100 neglected social housing projects? Isn’t that message getting through?
I don’t know whether the policy extends beyond the bank we were dealing with, but it certainly prompted us to make the shift to the decentralised Handelsbanken and needless to say, our application for funding was very quickly approved.
I’ve been delighted with the switch and it will probably benefit The Window Company (Contracts) in the long run, but I would be interested to hear if any other businesses like ours have experienced similar problems or prejudices?
The Window Company (Contracts)