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In response to the experiences of a number of their members, LAPADA, the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers, are conducting an online survey to pinpoint the areas of major concern.

The replacement of the traditional bank manager by inexperienced 'relationship managers' who show little interest in understanding the nature of the art and antiques business is one of the major frustrations, according to feedback received so far.

While simple issues of communication are a cause for concern, some LAPADA members also had specific complaints about the sudden withdrawal of banking facilities without explanation and about the unreasonable demands placed on them when they applied for a loan or an overdraft.

There has also been criticism of the way in which banks valued stock and other assets when assessing a client's credit-worthiness, often using valuers without sufficient experience in the field.

The survey is being circulated to members, but LAPADA would like to hear the views of as many dealers as possible so that they can lobby more effectively on behalf of the whole trade.

To complete the survey online (which will only take five minutes) go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LAPADA_BANKING2011. All responses will remain anonymous and be treated as strictly confidential.

The results of this banking survey will form a major focus of next year's LAPADA conference to be held in London on February 28. All those who complete the survey will be eligible for a draw to win two free places at the conference.

By Mark Bridge