Across the country, up and down the high streets, there are hundreds of thousands of businesses without access to financial products to help them grow. Their money is siloed into different systems and providers. And, unless they’re one of the few who have the funds and access to information to go entirely mobile, there’s been little innovation offered to help them manage.
Local businesses are particularly reliant on bank branches for physical access to financial services, therefore have been hit hard by the 2,900 branch closures that have occurred across the UK in the past three years. Bank branch closures are affecting small businesses and therefore high streets and communities. On average 60 bank branches are closing per month.
Bank branch closures affect business lending negatively; if the last branch in a postcode area closes down, business lending goes down by 104%, thus negatively affecting employment, productivity and growth. Also, bank branch closures are also disproportionately affecting disadvantaged communities, with the elderly and low income population heavily affected.
It’s an approach that’s worked well for our personal finance app. We started by hiring people who weren’t bankers, then we worked with a community of 300 people across the UK to develop digital, financial and soon-to-be real world solutions. Within five months of launching the app we’ve gained 10,000 customers.
We’ve launched The People’s Money Survey to understand what more we can learn and improve about business owners experiences of managing their finances.
We’re looking into the Financial Capability & Innovation Fund grant as a potential way that we can expand our business offering to include lending.
We ran our first co-creation session for businesses around the Harrow Road area of West London. We’ll be running more soon. If you run a business and would like to be a part of developing a better financial services for businesses please join our community weare.dozens.com and check out the ‘calling all business owners’ group.