NACFB SME lending up 20pc

The total is almost double the £7bn recorded in 2009, while it follows 16% year-on-year growth in 2013.

Commercial mortgage lending increased by a steady 3.4% year-on-year, while buy-to-let finance saw a 30% increase to surpass £3bn.

Adam Tyler, chief executive of NACFB, said: “If you were a small business seeking finance to expand and grow back in 2009, it was incredibly difficult to find a lender that would say yes.

“Fast-forward to 2014 and it’s a different picture. There are now more than 100 SME lenders operating in the UK and the market is diversifying at an incredible rate.”

The number of NACFB lenders has increased from 45 during the recession to 115 in 2014.

New types of lending have driven the growth, as peer-to-peer and crowdfunding increased by 25% to £624m.

Tyler added: “Availability of funds is no longer the issue, but there are still significant barriers facing SMEs who are looking for finance.

“Small businesses don’t have to rely on their high street bank for credit, but few are aware of the full range of alternatives out there – or that an independent broker will be able to match them with the best lender for their needs.

“These are the figures that show brokers are doing exactly that.”