There was a time, not that long ago, when entrepreneurs would put on their best clothes to meet their bank manager.
The banks were the only places able to lend to businesses, and would-be borrowers were cast in the role of supplicants, meekly accepting whatever terms they were offered.
That all changed in the boom years of credit, when the banks were happy to hand out loans, overdrafts and credit cards like sweets.
For a few heady years, 110% mortgages seemed quite normal as the housing bubble inflated, and any business with a half decent pitch could get a loan or an overdraft.
The 2008 credit crunch ended all that. A series of bad home loans made in America came home to roost – and broadsided the British lenders too.
With the rug pulled from under them, the banks suddenly pulled down the shutters and all but stopped lending.
Now the Dust has Settled
Half a decade on, little has changed. Despite a string of government schemes designed to nudge the banks back into lending, many are keeping their battered vaults firmly shut, even to well-run and successful businesses. The result is the stifling of many promising businesses and a serious drag on the economy.