Small and medium-sized enterprises to get a quicker response online

The business owner’s funding requirement is the central issue

Owners of Dutch small and medium-sized companies want to know quickly if funding is available for their plans. This now depends increasingly on other sources of funding in addition to bank loans. With online applications, Rabobank is giving business owners a clear answer more quickly in a complicated funding landscape.

Local Rabobanks in the Netherlands provide more than 40 million euroz in funding to their business customers every day. 80 per cent of this is provided by the bank itself as bank loans, while 12 per cent is funding in the form of leasing. The remaining eight per cent comes from other forms of finance, from microcredits to government guarantees. Business owners frequently combine these other types of funding with a bank loan. Rabobank calls this ‘stacked funding’.

A range of possibilities

Businesses are increasingly turning to a combination of various types of funding to meet their financial needs. Sander Middendorp, Manager Business Finance at Rabobank in the Netherlands: 'The supervisors are setting stricter requirements for the buffers and the risk profile of banks. This limits the banks' ability to provide bank loans and therefore makes it more difficult to fund business plans entirely with a bank loan. Meanwhile, a multitude of other types of funding have become available in recent years: microcredits, credit unions, crowdfunding, informal investors, insurers, pension funds and incentive schemes from local, regional, national and European governments. In this new funding landscape, Rabobank is prepared to arrange funding for any business owner with a good plan.'

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Knowing whether a plan can be funded more quickly

Business owners want an answer as soon as possible. 'Markets are much more volatile than they used to be, and businesses need to respond quickly. They need to know as quickly as possible if they can count on getting funding. This starts already when they are developing their plans. As soon as business owners have an idea whether their plans can be funded, they can adapt the plan or go ahead and apply for the finance', explains Middendorp. Rabobank is introducing online applications for SMEs in order to provide this quick response:

  • Indication of whether a plan can be funded. The business owner goes to the Financieringsindicator at rabobank.nl and answers a few questions about his plan and his key financial figures. The calculator gives an indication of whether funding will be available for the plan on this basis. Within just 15 minutes, the business owner has an idea of how much funding he can count on.
  • Applying for funding to Rabobank. Middendorp: 'The best way to apply for funding is online: the customer knows exactly what information we need to understand his funding requirement. Online, the customer can submit this information at a time of his choosing. We also offer an option whereby a business owner can have his accountant submit the application, or the business owner can complete the online application with the help of an adviser at the bank.'

Personal interview

A personal interview with a Rabobank adviser is then arranged within a week of the online application, at which the adviser explains the funding solutions that are best suited to the customer’s needs. Middendorp: 'This may still be entirely in the form of a bank loan, but also may involve some kind of stacked funding.'

Introduction to a new network

This personal interview may offer the business owner an introduction to a new network of potential financiers and business contacts. Middendorp: 'Rabobank has strong regional roots. We have a unique knowledge of the business sectors and know which parties have capital available for investment, and the kind of businesses for which this is most suitable. Our account managers can arrange for the customer to be introduced to these financiers. Local Rabobanks also organise meetings at which business owners and capital providers can meet each other. This creates new opportunities for our customers.'

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