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News & Views Funding Circle offers alternative credit source

investors to sidestep banks and lend directly to small businesses. Funding Circle differs from other social lending platforms in that it facilitates loans to businesses, rather than consumers, and provides low cost finance for cred- itworthy, small UK firms frustrated by the loan terms offered by the high street banks.

In its recent Quarterly Bulletin, the Bank of England highlighted the problems of small business getting reasonable credit terms. The report states:“While there is some evidence that credit supply conditions have improved somewhat since the peak of the financial crisis, especially for large companies with access to capi- tal markets, constrained credit supply continues to be one of the main factors holding back the economic recovery.”

The situation has been slammed by James Meekings, co-founder of the

Funding Circle. He says, “By continuing to restrict lending to small businesses, the banks are jeopardising the nation’s economic recovery. While they are insistent that demand for finance has diminished, our experience tells a dif- ferent story. So far, Funding Circle has facilitated over £1.5 million of loans to creditworthy small businesses and almost half have used their loans to expand their business.”

Funding Circle is an online market- place set up to enable savers and

The monthly repayment loans avail- able are for either one or three years and for between £5,000 and £50,000. Each loan will be comprised of small amounts of borrowing from many dif- ferent people who compete to lend to the business in question, enabling it to borrow at a better rate. With no bank in the middle, both lenders and borrow- ers achieve a better deal.

Funding Circle has been co-founded by Samir Desai, formerly of Olivant & the Boston Consulting Group, James Meekings, of OC&C Strategy Consultants and Andrew Mullinger formerly of Citigroup, Ernst & Young and Nomura.

Three sisters publish Indian cookbook

Priya, Sereena and Alexa Kaul have published their own Three Sisters Indian Cookbook. They have also come up with a spice box which contains all the 13 spices needed for all their reci- pes, meaning that lengthy and expen- sive shopping lists are a thing of the past. In the book, the three sisters, origi- nally from Kashmir, have collected together 100 family recipes that can easily be made at home.They learned to cook by watching their mother and grandmother produce meals for large family gatherings in Derbyshire, where

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they moved in the 1960s. When they had families themselves they realised that the dishes they loved when they were young had to be simplified to suit their own smaller families and hectic lifestyles. The result is the new book. For more information contact Anna Robinson on: anna.robinson@simo- or 020 7316 1988.

March 2011

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