Pankaj Chowdhary, chief executive of London-based paper recycling business Reliance Fibres, has had little joy with British banks in the past.
His company, which trades in seven countries and gets almost all of its £10m annual revenue from exports to India, needs currency hedging support and a large amount of working capital to buy up stock. However, he got the cold shoulder from Royal Bank of Scotland when it found out what market he was involved in back in 2008.
“I feel that when it comes to borrowing [British banks think] I am in the most risky sector,” he says. “The interest charges they were going to impose were higher than large corporates would pay.”
He was put off banking with other UK-based lenders because of their high charges they said he would have to pay and the way they tried to push products on to him he did not want, such as credit insurance. As a result, he took his business to the State Bank of India, where he now has a £1m debt facility.
Banking reform might help if it forced banks to be more transparent about their charges, Mr Chowdhary says.
He adds that he is open to the idea of switching to a UK bank because he believes some of them could provide a more global reach than his current lender. However, he doubts that reform will change the culture within the corporate banking teams, which seem to favour larger companies over small and medium-sized ones.
“If we were a £100m company it would be a lot easier,” he says.
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