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Interest rates in the form of the Bank of England base rate have remained unchanged at 0.5% for the last 17 months. These low base rates seem attractive to borrowers but are crippling savers who rely on the income their savings generate.

Will rates rise? I think the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that these ultra low rates are not sustainable and as such, yes rates will rise. In a poll of economists by Reuters (29 July) the conclusions were that interest rates would rise from April-June 2011. It was thought that they would rise to 1.5% be the end of 2011.

If you are a factoring client, how will the impact on your costs? Well in some cases it will obviously increase your costs of borrowing money as your discounting fee is made up of a margin and a base rate. As the base rate rises then your costs would increase surely? The answer is maybe. It will differ from lender to lender.

HSBC invoice finance for example have no minimum base rate so any increase from the 0.5% Bank of England base rate will be felt by their clients who are currently enjoying these very low rates.

However, Bibby Financial Services are currently using 3 month LIBOR as a base rate and in the quotations I have seen are using a minimum base rate of 3%. This means that until the base rate (3 month LIBOR in this instance) increases above 3% their clients will not be effected by the potential base increases.

Close Invoice Finance use 1 month LIBOR as a base rate but have an overall minimum discounting fee of 4.5% . So any base rate increases would only impact on the clients of Close Invoice Finance if their total discounting fee increases above 4.5%.

Looking at the invoice finance market in it’s entirety there are a lot of clients who won’t feel the impact of any impending rate increases for some time.

Is this good news? It depends on how you view matters but some may argue that the ones who will not feel the effect of the increases are paying too much at the moment anyway. Then again, you can only choose the best of the offers that are made available to you.

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