SOME businesses which took advantage of a three-month payment holiday during the coronavirus crisis have received a black mark on their credit history, a finance company says.

Dawsongroup Finance – which helps firms finance assets such as such as vehicles and equipment – says businesses should not be penalised for “sensible cash flow management”.

The Ringwood-based lender said some finance companies have rejected new applications from existing clients because the customer had accepted a payment holiday. This is happening despite the fact that payment breaks were widely offered across the asset finance industry, Dawsongroup said.

Kevin Wills, commercial director at Dawsongroup Finance, said: “We were surprised to hear from a number of businesses that a three-month payment holiday has been seen by some finance companies as adverse credit information – even by lenders who offered the payment break in the first place.

“For businesses now trying to take the positive steps they need to in order to re-establish and build their businesses, this can be a massive obstacle.”

He said there were cases when lenders were right to refuse finance, because a business had missed payments in the past or there was significant risk to the lender. But he said lenders should approach the subject of credit with an open mind.

The business – which is part of Milton Keynes-based Dawsongroup PLC – said lenders who use coronavirus payment breaks as a reason to reject applications run the risk of halting recovery as business seek to reinvest.

Mr Wills said: “More businesses understand the benefit of investing in their fleet as the economy gradually climbs back to normal levels.

“They’re approaching us to source and finance any assets they need, as some lenders are refusing finance full-stop, even for those who haven’t taken payment breaks.”

Dawsongroup Finance recently hired a new credit manager, Andy Morris, who is the sixth person to join the team this year. He is responsible for assessing all new business proposals.

Mr Morris, who has spent more than 20 years in credit management roles, said: “Now is a very strange and unusual period for credit managers. We are being faced with a number of unique situations and circumstances per application, that all need to be handled with care and empathy.

“Our stance is simple – if you’ve taken a payment break during coronavirus, we think it was a sensible management choice and it will not deter us from trying to offer you a competitive finance deal for the assets you are acquiring to invest in your recovery.”