• East of England SMEs have the biggest savings pots with average savings balances of £707,000
  • SME savings have reduced in all regions apart from East Midlands, since the outcome of the EU Referendum
  • Businesses in North East are most active business savers 

For the second year in a row small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the East of England are saving the most money in their business savings accounts with the average balance standing at £707,000, according to new research from specialist challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank.

While SMEs in the East are once again top of the table when it comes to the amount held in business savings accounts, they are saving 27% less than in the run up to the EU Referendum*. The national average for business savings is £446,000, a 20% drop compared to last year**.

According to the data***, only SMEs in the East Midlands have grown their business savings balances since 2016 – increasing their savings pots by 9% to £670,000. Scottish SMEs have decreased their business savings balances the most (-40%), stating they have done so in order to invest in the development of their business, followed by smaller businesses in the South East (-30%), the East and London (-27% each).

While businesses in the East of England have the largest savings pots, those based in the North East and South West are the most active savers, investing 69% and 66% of total funds respectively in business savings, higher than the national average of 52%.

Regional table

Region 2017 business savings account

(% of total funds)

% change from 2016*** 2017 current account
East £707,000 (55%) -27% (2016: £966,000) £569,000
East Midlands £670,000 (47%) 9% (2016: £614,000) £745,000
South West £623,000 (66%) -5% (2016: £654,000) £326,000
London £608,000 (48%) -27% (2016: £829,000) £652,000
North East £598,000 (69%) -20% (2016: £749,000) £267,000
Wales £503,000 (43%) -20% (2016: £628,000) £666,000
Northern Ireland £432,000 (57%) -14% (2016: £501,000) £320,000
West Midlands £386,000 (42%) -11% (2016: £432,000) £524,000
Yorkshire and Humberside £292,000 (53%) -8% (2016: £316,000) £264,000
North West £286,000 (41%) -23% (2016: £371,000) £407,000
Scotland £220,000 (62%) -40% (2016: £364,000) £136,000
South East £93,000 (59%) -30% (2016: £132,000) £64,000
AVERAGE £446,000 (52%) -20% (2016: £556,000) £409,000

Firms in the North West, West Midlands and Wales invest significantly less than the national average in business savings accounts – 41%, 42% and 43% respectively. When asked why they kept money in current accounts, the businesses cited the need to have the money as a readily available source of capital for regular payments (25%, 33% and 43% respectively).

Stuart Hulme, Director of Savings at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “We appreciate that this is a challenging time for UK SMEs, with the current uncertain economic and political environment impacting on savings balances across the UK. However, it is encouraging to see that on average smaller businesses are still investing 52% of total funds in business savings, just 5% less than last year’s figure of 57%.

“Rather than stockpiling cash in current accounts, SMEs should consider shopping around for a business savings account that provides a better rate of return, enabling them to make more of their hard-earned cash.”

For more information on Hampshire Trust Bank’s business savings accounts www.htb.co.uk/business-savings

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