Friday 27 February 2009

Punch and Crunch

The decision by Punch recently to offer it's 7,560 pubs for sale to sitting lessees was, in my view, good news. A pub that worked as a leased pub under the helm of a sitting lessee would surely work owned as a freehold by the same person. The banks should see these pubs as safer businesses to lend to than new start ups.

It seems however, that despite the banks being urged to lend to small businesses they are reluctant to lend to pubs. Apparently, there is a blanket policy from many of the banks resulting in pubs not being extended credit when they need it. HSBC, which I have to admit is far from my favourite bank, have been quoted as saying they have “a very limited appetite” for the pub sector.

A further criticism that can be leveled against the banks are the magnitude of charges that are applied. Banking cash, getting change, card transactions and cheques all cost and the charges are increasing in a disproportionate way. All these experiences I can confirm are realistic constraints that we also feel here.

How many times has the reader visited the pub with a couple of £20 notes and gone home with over £10 worth of shrapnel? That costs the pub industry quite a lot to refill the float in the till. We're lucky, we found out that the milkman gets all the change and now we have an agreement.

It is no secret that I am keen to see the beer tie system reduced but it seems the good news from Punch is unlikely to yield any real change. The banks are also reluctant to lend to sitting licensees who wish to buy the freehold. Very clever Punch, wait until the banks won't lend and then offer the pubs for sale.

I've been looking for an excuse to use these pictures. We took them while on a trip to London. We had to change from the underground at Canary Wharf and walk to a DLR station. It just struck me at the time that this is where my bank charges have been going for the last 20 years.


Stonch said...

I don't pay for change. Sometimes my staff go to the banks we don't even hold an account with, and they never ask for any payment.

Unknown said...

Birthday Boy, That's interesting, we've always been charged unless we know the cashier. We have been lucky with our local Post Office as well but HSBC screwed us completely.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

I remember you telling me, when you were here, about getting charged just to make change at a bank. Sounds like tipping to me.