A successsful Northern Ireland retailer has had his request for a £5,000 overdraft to grow his business denied by a bank.
Andy Waring and his wife, Carrie (31), who already run three successful shops in the greater Belfast area, recently spotted an opportunity to expand.
But, just this week, their bank of 10 years, Santander, refused financial assistance — despite them not owing any money.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Waring, from Newtownabbey, said he needed a cash injection to help to start-up a new retail unit.
“We had hoped to employ up to 15 staff if we were able to add a new shop to the three we already have,” said the former security guard.
“The problem is that the bank will not give a £5,000 overdraft facility and cannot seem to give us any reasonable explanation as to why not. The Government says banks must lend, indeed it has provided banks with capital for that very purpose — and yet we have a stalemate.”
The 36-year-old father-of-two added: “For all of the talk of finance available to banks, it is not being pumped into the economy.”
Beauty salon Carrie on with Colour, which is owned by the Warings, has been operating successfully for the past 10 years in Newtownabbey.
The couple also have two ice cream parlours called Maud’s Moments in Monkstown and Rathcoole.
They had hoped to open an additional Maud’s Moments in another Co Antrim location, but Mr Waring said he believes that his past history has negatively affected the pair’s credit rating, thus preventing them from getting an overdraft.
“Seven years ago I resigned from my job as a security guard after being the victim of five armed robberies,” Mr Waring said.
“I was forced into an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA), which meant we had to sell our house and cars and start from scratch.
“My mother and father-in-law gave us £31,500 towards the outstanding debt, which we settled in full.”
An IVA — which is an alternative to bankruptcy — is a formal debt solution to assist people with severe debt problems to make repayments.
Consequently, some £70,000 was repaid, which Mr Waring pointed out was debt from personal loans, not business debt.
“It took me years to even get a bank account again after what happened, but I’m proud that I managed to get back on my feet,” he said.
“I’m not ashamed of my past and I’m trying to build a decent future for my wife, our children — Cydney (8) and six-year-old Trenton — and myself.
“I could have been declared bankrupt, but instead I took the hard way out and managed to build up a business.
“We already employ 12 people and we believe that the time is right to expand, if only we could get some help from the bank.”
A Santander spokeswoman last night said the bank was not in a position to authorise an overdraft.
“As we confirmed to Mr and Mrs Waring in our correspondence to them, their request for an overdraft has been declined,” she said.
“If they would like further information on what is recorded on their credit file, we suggest they request a copy from the credit reference agencies.”