Media Hub | News | 2016

Informed Funding Interviews John Davies.

He set up Just Cash Flow in 2013 and to date has funded 400 companies.

Businesses that need to finance growth have more places to go for debt funding than ever before. But how many of them know about the options that exist? It’s time to broaden your horizons.

John Davies set up Just Cash Flow in 2013 and to date has funded 400 companies, providing them with a Revolving Credit Facility that operates in the same way as a business overdraft. Companies have flexible access to a borrowing facility that they can draw down and repay as they wish, paying interest only on the sum outstanding each day.

Your company sounds a bit like a bank. How similar are you?

I’ve been in business for 37 years and I still remember the name of my first bank manager. Back in those days, they tried to put you on the right road by suggesting things for you to consider. It was all about wanting to get to know the people behind the business. Today a lot of lenders use algorithms to make credit decisions but algorithms don’t give you the full story: they just give you some analysis of the numbers. It’s still the people you need to speak to and that’s why we want to get to know our customers well and understand their business so that we can help to point them in the right direction. We are particularly delighted to announce that the Group has just become a Professional Associate Member of the British Bankers’ Association, and the first alternative commercial lender to do so.

How long do you spend with each customer?

We do a 20-minute interview at the outset. Then we gather a great deal more information from new customers and analyse that, and then finally we do another 45-minute to one-hour interview with one of our Account Directors, who are former commercial bank managers. They’re want to know whether this person actually understands the business they’re running, how it should be run and what their future looks like. After that initial stage it’s the ongoing relationship that matters and we want to be talking to our customers regularly because things can look different from one week to the next. We’ve just introduced a Business Growth team whose job is to support our customers as much as we can in all areas, not just finance. It could be help with their social media.

Do you have a credit committee that decides who you’ll lend to?

We are a rules-based lender so for example if someone has an open County Court Judgment against them or the company’s in a corporate voluntary arrangement or similar, we will not support that business because it tells us that the directors don’t respect the people they’ve already borrowed money from, or that they cannot manage their personal finances. If they’ve had a credit default but they’ve put it right that’s fine because it shows they’ve taken responsibility for their mistakes and done the right thing.

Do borrowers have to put up security for their loans?

Yes, always. If there are invoices these are good security to lend against, or there might be other assets in the business. If there’s already an all-assets debenture from another lender we look to the individuals themselves.

Are they creditworthy?

We don’t necessarily want to take charges over their assets but we do need to know they’ve got some skin in the game and they don’t want to lose this business.

What’s your most popular product at the moment?

That’s our MasterCard facility. It’s a card that gives you instant access to your business overdraft wherever you are. People like the fact it’s there sitting in the background for them as a rainy day facility – they can use it at point of sale or have funds transferred into their bank account if they need to pay the wages.

How about the future – what’s coming up?

The big thing on our minds is that we are bringing out our own banking facilities towards the end of the year. We’ll provide business accounts with a dedicated account number, access to Faster Payments, direct debits and so on, although we won’t be paying interest on any balances. That’s going to be a big step for us and it will take us much more into competition with the major banks.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a business lender?

It must be communicating to the wider business world that we exist and that we’re keen to support businesses. The problem is that business owners tend to be so busy that they don’t have time to read or research themselves. They don’t know what they don’t know, and so don’t go looking either. Education always will be the biggest challenge and the biggest frustration. How do you educate young, growing businesses in the skills they need to build a business and what’s the best way to support them to do that?

Date Issued September 2016.

Follow @justcashflowuk on Twitter for more like this.

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