AS the economy continues to rebalance across the North East, Mike Mullaney, Area Director, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, looks at ways to create the right conditions for enterprises to thrive over the coming years.
THE North East has a reputation for being a centre of excellence in many sectors and industries - and it’s one we need to spur on to even greater heights as our economy rebuilds.
From low-carbon renewables to hi-tech precision manufacturing, we have much to be proud of. We have skilled, flexible labour markets and favourable demographics. We’re home to many of the UK’s best companies, universities and creative talents, all of whom are pushing forward innovation and adding huge value to our economy.
They are key to our recovery, as is our ability to adapt. The North East’s instinct for reinvention provides a platform for exciting growth in a diverse range of industries, not least renewable energy.
Now more than ever, we need to build on that success. We may not yet know what the full impact of the public sector spending cuts in the region will be, but Experian* research suggests we’re one of the UK’s least resilient regions to the austerity measures.
What we need to encourage, and what we here at Lloyds Bank are focused on, is creating an environment in which the private sector can take up the slack.
If there’s one thing that links the future of all the firms that can fuel our regional economy, it’s the need for steadfast support from a banking partner that is committed to driving growth.
In my role here at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, I get to meet many outstanding, world-class, local companies across the North East. We have many businesses to be proud of, but I believe we need to drive growth in many more to sustain our region’s recovery.
To build economic momentum, to create the growth, jobs and opportunities the North East needs, we’ve got to back more local businesses. Their growth is vital to the regional recovery, and creating the right environment for them to succeed is essential.
That’s why here at Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets we’re actively encouraging lending to viable firms and providing support to businesses looking to invest in growth.
We’re committed to tackling the obstacles that prevent local firms from growing, exporting and recruiting, encouraging businesses to have challenging conversations around the finance they require and the support they need to succeed.
Often those are tough discussions, but we increasingly find that management teams want to be challenged. We can use our banking expertise to stress-test business plans and bring valuable perspectives to the companies we work with.
For customers, that means they get a partner in business committed to providing steadfast and consistent support. What we hope for in return is a commitment from businesses to create and innovate, to invest and grow, to develop and break boundaries.
Together, we hope to create the conditions in which business can thrive and make the years ahead the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in the North East’s history.
Decisions on your doorstep
Local presence and understanding are at the heart of that strategy. It’s a crucial strength. And it’s not just our network of relationship directors who are based locally. We also have regional credit teams who are familiar with the local economic environment and are on hand to talk through prospective transactions with our relationship directors at an early stage.
There’s no substitute for having the banking expertise on the ground where you need it. That’s why we ensure the lending decisions you need to fuel your ambitions are made right here on your doorstep. This approach means that our customers get a bespoke lending solution and a rapid response suited to local conditions.
It remains truer today than ever that Lloyds Bank is open for business. Last month, Real Deals magazine measured the banking sector’s appetite for lending and concluded we are “resoundingly the most active lender in the market.”
We welcome the recognition. Maintaining a flow of finance to viable companies is absolutely central to our agenda here in the North East.
My own firm belief is that success in business is largely dependent on the partners you work with. What viable businesses need most now is a banking partner they can trust, and who can offer financial expertise that’s local and swift. We’re here to provide that support.
* Experian Comprehensive Spending Review – October 2010
:: Mike Mullaney, Area Director, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets; 0191 255 1558