BLM met with David Goodall, who is Head of Mid-Corporate Banking in the South West for Barclays.
Can you tell readers about your role at Barclays and the businesses you work with?
I head up the corporate banking team for Barclays across the South West, working from four main offices – Bath, Bristol, Exeter and Truro.
My team look after businesses which typically have a turnover of £6.5 million to £30 million.
The Relationship Directors are sector based so their portfolios tend to be structured in that way.
This means that they can understand the dynamics of the sector in which their clients operate and provide valuable support and insight in a far more bespoke way. They are supported by a team of local Relationship Support Managers.
What is the profile of businesses that Barclays work best with?
Barclays works with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to multi-national corporations .
We are working with a lot of high growth companies locally and the South West has a large number of entrepreneurs and the innovation we are seeing in business here is huge and very exciting.
We love working with businesses to unlock any barriers to growth they might have. That might be through the provision of funding or through making connections for them across our extensive networks.
Ultimately, we want to help our clients achieve their ambitions so we will do whatever we can to support that.
What have been some stand-out businesses you have worked with recently?
Too many to mention! Recently we worked with Whitehall Garden Centre by funding the purchase of their third garden centre.
We also supported Cox and Cox. They are an excellent online retail business based in Somerset and they specialise in high-quality homeware. We provided growth finance.
We have also been able to support businesses in the hospitality & leisure sector. Bath is a key market in that regard and we have recently helped fund a further acquisition for the Kaleidoscope Group. No.15 Great Pulteney Street was a derelict building and is now an award winning boutique hotel.
How are your clients responding to Brexit?
There was a feeling of shock immediately after the vote. Post-referendum I found that customers were really focused on getting on and doing what they needed to do for their business within the changed environment they were facing.
One of the things that really impressed me was our clients who employ Europeans – they put their arms around them to provide re-assurance.
Clients are now looking at how they manage their overseas business and some are now setting up a physical presence in Europe to ensure they have a clear route to market. There remains lots of uncertainty so the quicker we have clarity the better.
In your opinion, how do we encourage more businesses to export?
Research shows that 85% of companies said exporting led to a level of growth that was otherwise not possible. There is some great evidence that shows that if you do take that step and export, it is going to be great for your business.
Barclays is partnered with UKTI and as part of that we are backing the governments export drive. We have pledged to support 15,000 businesses to export. Encouraging first time exporters will be key to the success of this.
Do you see the UK economy remaining robust going forward?
Yes! I am not an economist but from what I see of UK industry and specifically in the South West, I am very confident that they will make the best of this current environment. There will continue to be twists and turns globally that might just skew things for a moment.
From my perspective, one of the key elements is to make sure Barclays is lending money to businesses when they want to grow. We have lent significant sums across the South West so far this year on the corporate side and it is important that we continue to do this.