Venture Finance have been reading my website

The Factoring Solutions website has been pretty much unchanged for ten years and one of the comments that I made all those years ago in lighthearted manner was :-

“Despite the importance of selecting the right factoring company it seems that many companies using invoice finance to speed up cash flow still find their factor by looking in Yellow Pages – which is surely why there are so many factoring companies beginning with the letter A”

It seems that Venture Finance have now realised the error of their ways and are now changing their name to ABN AMRO Commercial Finance thus jumping from the back of the queue straight to the front of the chasing pack.

I must admit that I was surprised to hear of the change of name as not only is Venture Finance one of the better known factoring companies as it is but AMN AMRO is probably best known to the average man as the bank that brought RBS to it’s knees thus bearing a large responsibility for the problems within the UK banking industry and therefore the economy today.

Not only that but ABN AMRO Commercial Finance hardly trips easily off the tongue 🙂

Factoring brokers and the internet

More and more supposed factoring brokers are using the internet to attract customers. Unfortunately this means that anyone with some web design skills can throw together a site and try and generate some factoring leads but it can’t be in the customers best interests if the person behind the website doesn’t know the first thing about factoring.

Anyone who keeps an eye on Google will have noticed a new website has recently appeared on page one with what on the surface appears to be a decent website containing a few fairly standard articles about factoring.

The website contains logos from Venture, Bibby, Lloyds TSB, Aldermore, Close and Hitachi which purports to give the impression that the company has a relationship with each of them, but does it?

There is an invitation to submit details on a contact form but nowhere on the site does it have an address or telephone number and having looked up ownership of the domain in Nominet I have never heard of the owner and neither has anyone that I have asked although a quick Google check shows that as well as articles about factoring he has also published articles about getting rid of spots and how to cook a pizza.

Most internet savvy people would never deal with a website that doesn’t have either an address or telephone number but unfortunately many of the potential customers won’t be as wary.

This isn’t the only one as I came up with another last week that have a highly professional and expensive looking website with branches in Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham which makes it look like a pretty sizeable outfit.

It even has testimonials including one saying “We found ****** to be absolutely terrific. They arranged an invoice factoring deal for us quickly and efficiently. Would certainly recommend them” and this was signed by DL, Operations Manager of ABC Ltd

Intrigued to find out more about this high profile outfit I looked up the ownership of the website to see that it registered to the very same ABC Ltd who gave it such a glowing testimonial and a bit more research shows the website owner is a actually a contract cleaning company.

I have often said that factoring companies should be regulated and I also think that it would be in the customers’ best interests if brokers were also regulated as I’m sure that you can’t get best advice from a broker unless he knows the industry, but unfortunately the poor old customer has no idea if his broker knows what he’s talking about or not and it seems that there are a lot around who don’t.

Venture Finance – the kings of self promotion

Venture are one of those companies that delight in taking the slightest opportunity for a bit of self promotion and the latest bit of PR to arrive across my desk is to tell me that their Birmingham office has moved address.

For most companies it would suffice to give the new address and the date of the move but I guess that Venture employ a PR man who needs to earn his corn so I received the following:-

“Venture has strengthened its presence in Birmingham by relocating to a new office in the city centre.

The new address is:
Venture Finance
Victoria House
116 Colmore Row
Birmingham
B3 3BD

The new office has a great location in the centre of Birmingham, just a few hundred yards from New Street rail station. This will enable our Midlands team to provide an even better and more tangible service to our introducers.

With a fourth Business Improvement District recently approved for Southside, these are exciting times to be located right at the heart of the city and we look forward to continuing our efforts in supporting local businesses meet the recovery with strength.”

According to Multimap, Venture have moved just two and a half miles from Edgbaston to the much more expensive Colmore Row and I am intrigued to know how this move will enable their team to offer a better and more tangible service to introducers.

The new address is certainly nearer to the bars and restaurants in the city centre and I wonder if this is anything to do with the “exciting times” referred to. After all, it is December

End of 2009 – a difficult year for factoring

It’s been quite a busy year with several small factoring companies either going bust or being taken over or both and with all existing factors finding it tough going.

I would imagine 2010 to see much of the same with one factoring company about to be taken over which I guess will be the first of several in the coming year.

However tough the market there never seems to be a shortage of people clamouring to get into it. Whilst some do it as they need to provide themselves with an income and they see the setting up and running a factoring company as the route to do that others have a genuine desire to be in the business. Santander comes into the latter category and with many of the country’s best loved names now part of the group one can hardly blame them even if they chose a most unusual way of doing so. There is also another new factoring company to be launched shortly which I have no doubt should be successful as there are no pressures there to take on business at all costs as seems to be the case with several of the more recent newcomers.

One of my hobby horses over the year has been the plethora of awards handed out to all and sundry with almost everyone being able to claim some sort of award for being the best factoring and discounting company of the year and as if to round off the year nicely a press release landed on the blog’s desk from Business Moneyfacts announcing a forthcoming event to “celebrate the best products and service in the business and commercial finance world”

The nominations for “Best Factoring & Invoice Discounting Provider” are:-

Absolute Invoice Finance
Bibby Financial Services
Close Invoice Finance Limited
Credit Agricole Commercial Finance
IGF Invoice Finance Limited
Venture Finance PLC

I have no idea who decides on the nominations or even how much they know about the marketplace but it always seems to be the same old companies that are nominated and the one thing that most have in common is their love of self promotion.

Of this year’s nominations Absolute Invoice Finance and their clients must have wondered if they would see out the end of the year as the previous parent Cattles were in such a parlous state whilst Close and Venture seem between them to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of the complaints that one regularly reads about on forums and blogs around the country.

IGF Invoice Finance is a company that has been top of many people’s lists of “who won’t be around this time next year” for the last two years and there are still mutterings in the marketplace about them.

That leaves just Bibby and what was Eurofactor and I freely admit that I don’t know much about the latter.

I wonder why these companies don’t approach me for a list of nominations 🙂

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Interesting times at Venture Finance

Venture Finance are heavily into self promotion and it seems like every time they sign a client a press release does the rounds. The latest to hit the circuit was earlier this week when they announced that “its Q3 results for 2009 are the best it has achieved in a decade. The independent invoice and asset-based lender has provided consistent support to UK businesses, in what has been a difficult time for liquidity. As a result, Venture has witnessed a 42% increase in new clients above the usual third quarter average, dating back to 2000.”

Th company’s staff must be wondering quite what to make of this announcement as they had just been called to a staff meeting during which they were told that the company was looking for volunteers for redundancy as 20 staff were to be chopped.

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