Business banking options may be tough to access in the coming year, it has been said.

Smaller companies hoping to compare savings accounts on the best business accounts available to them in the near future may find it tough to access the finance they want, an expert in the industry has suggested.

In the aftermath of the global economic downturn, many firms may have been denied the business account package they feel would be best for their needs on the grounds that financiers have been reluctant to lend freely throughout this time.

And Phil McCabe, spokesman for the Forum of Private Business, believes this trend may continue in the coming months, mainly due to the "erosion of local decision making" within financial institutions.

"Small firms are still struggling to even get in a situation where they can negotiate funding from the major banks," he explained.

This follows on from a report in the Manchester Evening News, which revealed that Santander was to take part in a business lending scheme worth up to £40 million in the north-west of England.

The Spanish owned bank is well known in the business banking sector, providing banking solutions to businesses large or small.

Meanwhile, companies in the north-west are set to benefit from a new initiative.

Organisations based in north-west England may have a wider variety of options to choose from in the near future.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Santander has unveiled plans to invest as much as £40 million in a scheme to help the region's firms, which may result in them being able to access business accounts more easily.

Under its proposals, the lender will join forces with various Local Enterprise Partnerships and universities in the area in order to provide promising companies with an "alternative to traditional income streams".

Ana Botin, chief executive of the news source, said that Santander is eager to "offer something different to small businesses, which is also sustainable".

"We are saying to them, if you need some equity in your businesses, which is different from debt, we can offer you that," she added.

Recently, major financiers across the UK got together to form the Business Finance Taskforce.

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