Banking on world-class manufacturing success

2 mins read

Manufacturing in the UK has a world-class reputation and banks can play a part in building this further, says David Atkinson, head of SME manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

The manufacturing sector is crucial to the ongoing resurgence and rebalancing of the UK economy. It is the confidence and growth of SME businesses within the sector that will underpin a sustainable economic recovery as it continues during 2014 and builds momentum in 2015. Our nation is home to a wealth of world-class, successful manufacturing and specialist engineering businesses that are leading the charge. It is for this reason that we at Lloyds Bank have further strengthened our 13 dedicated local manufacturing teams across the country, each of which offers support and guidance to these SME firms as they work towards their growth ambitions. As head of manufacturing, I oversee our network of over 100 relationship directors and managers who have each received formal training with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University to build upon their knowledge and understanding of the sector. We further bolster this training with a minimum of 40 hours a year of continuing professional development about the sector. Committed to helping local manufacturers My team is committed to helping local manufacturers achieve success, whether that's making a strategic acquisition, moving to new premises or supporting a growing demand to invest in new machinery, in order to further accelerate economic recovery across Britain. Over the past year, we have supported businesses from right across the UK. Deals have included a £560,000 expansionary finance package for metal presswork manufacturer HT Brigham in the Midlands, an £890,000 loan for Norfolk's Wolf Brewery to support a new automated bottling line and a five-figure loan through the Funding for Lending Scheme for The Handcrafted Card Company in the North East. Manufacturers are increasingly looking beyond just servicing domestic markets and are targeting emerging economies for growth opportunities. Our teams work closely with UK Trade and Investment, UK Export Finance and our own dedicated international business managers to support these businesses to gain a foothold in new foreign markets and achieve exporting success. We also recognise that the UK manufacturing industry still has challenges ahead if it is to maintain its position in the global marketplace, and the projected skills shortage of engineers is a major obstacle that needs to be overcome. To help fill this skills gap, we have launched a £1 million a year partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry for the new Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre. The site is designed to help nurture young talent and develop more than 1,000 engineering apprentices and trainees over the next five years. Lord Willis of Knaresborough praised Lloyds Bank at a recent event held with 'Talent Retention Solution' (TRS), an initiative to support the skills agenda, by saying: "Their multi-million sponsorship of the Lloyds Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre at Coventry is a clear demonstration that Lloyds have engaged with the issue of the 'skills gap in UK manufacturing' – recognising that manufacturing – making things people all over the world want to buy – is fundamental to the UK economy in global as well as domestic markets." We've also committed to £4 billion of new lending to the sector by the end of 2017 through our manufacturing pledge to drive growth in the sector. I am delighted to say that to date we are ahead of our plans to deliver this. I am excited about the opportunities that we face, and we aim to anticipate and respond to the needs of manufacturers to ensure that the sector continues to grow and develop, building on its world-class reputation. Alongside the ambition and talent in the industry, we are optimistic for the future of manufacturing in the UK and remain confident that it will continue to thrive with the right support and focus.