Financial watchdog in plea to Northern Ireland small firms not to suffer in silence
Northern Ireland's largest business organisation has told small firms not to suffer in silence if they have been treated unfairly.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) made the call at yesterday's Balmoral Show alongside the financial ombudsman Anna Whitelock, whose office has recently expanded its service to investigate cases on behalf of small businesses with up to 50 employees.
FSB Northern Ireland regional chair Brendan Kearney said: "Too often we hear stories of small businesses who have been treated unjustly by a financial institution.
"They feel very much like the underdog against larger businesses and the big banks.
"FSB has been leading the way with our Fair Pay, Fair Play campaign to encourage larger businesses to pay their suppliers on time.
"For cases where a financial business is involved, small businesses have the option of getting in touch with the financial ombudsman who has the legal power to put it right.
"We are using our major presence at Balmoral this year to raise awareness of the assistance which is available to small businesses, so they don't suffer in silence if they feel they have been wronged."
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Also commenting yesterday, Ms Whitelock said: "It's great to work alongside FSB at this year's Balmoral Show.
"We are very much looking forward to engaging with business owners.
"It's vital that small businesses in Northern Ireland are aware of the financial ombudsman service, and should not hesitate to contact us if they feel they have been treated unfairly by a financial business."