A number of small businesses in Scotland could soon struggle to secure financing, following a top lender pulling out of the UK market.
Finance company ING is to close its leasing operations, as the Dutch bank continues to off-load assets in order to pay back Dutch government lending.
ING Leasing UK presently accounts for five per cent of the UK leasing market, amounting to about £1billion per year.
Whilst competitors in the industry have said they will do what they can to pick up the slack, commentators are not convinced this will be enough. Insiders talking to the BBC have suggested that they could struggle to fulfil just 50 per cent of the money needed by companies.
They have also warned that months of disruption could be faced by some smaller firms, with delays experienced in obtaining new computing equipment, commercial vehicles and office furniture. Many also suspect the leasing industry as a whole could continue to have problems for a longer period of time.
However, whilst leasing is growing in popularity throughout the country, other firms are looking at alternative commercial finance. In Scotland, many factoring companies are helping by lending against sales ledgers for example.
The move by ING follows the recent announcement that its savings arm will be off-loaded to Barclays. Whilst it is largely due to the repayments owed to its government, the Dutch lender has also been hit by changing rules in Europe.
With new regulations calling for banks to hold larger capital reserves, many banks are having to reduce their activities.