It wasn’t exactly springtime in Paris, but our day in Brussels at the start of May was nonetheless a welcome trip out of the office and a big chance to promote the way we do things in Britain.
The findSMEfinance site continues to attract attention from European businesses, who would love to be able to find brokers in their own country and hope that our site will locate them.
The fact that it’s a “dot org dot uk” address doesn’t dissuade them – at least, not all of them. That’s because they’re thinking globally; why shouldn’t the UK provide the solution to a European problem?
As fast as David Cameron is trying to renegotiate the way the EU works, we’re fielding queries and loan requests from Europe-based small businesses who are thinking of Finance Sans Frontières.
Regrettably, we have to let them down at the moment, because we’re a National Association not an International one.
But we’d actively support, and would definitely try to help with, the construction of NACFB equivalents in countries like Germany, Finland, and Italy, where borrowers are used to going to their small regional bank.
These are countries that see the UK as the future because we’ve got huge numbers of challenger banks, including peer-to-peer funders, which they simply haven’t got themselves.
At the start of May the NACFB was invited to have a presence at a private lunch with the European Investment Bank at the Egmont Palace in Brussels.
The event was the European Business Summit and the NACFB has been closely involved in the manifesto document.
There were more people wanting to talk to us than we had the time to fit in, so I’m going back in the summer to give an insight into how UK companies are funded, and I’ll have a similar message for the European Investment Bank (the EU Bank).
It’s another welcome sign that our Association is being taken very seriously in Brussels and among the European Parliament. They consider the NACFB is central to the issue of small business lending and that our voice needs to be listened to on the topic of future regulation of Commercial Finance Brokers.
An Association of Commercial Finance Brokers is something that continental European countries lack, and so they look to Britain as an example of what’s possible when you facilitate commercial lending by putting lenders in touch with brokers and brokers with borrowers.
There are lots of changes happening to the way our Association works behind the scenes, and potentially one big new addition to the package of benefits that our members enjoy.
Plus of course the Expo is only a few weeks away, and we always try hard to top the previous year's event, a job that gets tougher every year.
Last minute registrations are still being accepted on top of the one thousand we’ve already received – take a trip to www.nacfb.org and click on Events to book your place.
Adam Tyler is chief executive officer of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers.