As someone close to the demise of Pettifer Construction lamented last week: "The banks are the banks".

You can't argue with the logic. Nor can you argue with your lender when they decide to pull the plug.

A transparent relationship may buy you some time though.

Many companies are pushed under due to a lack of trust in the management. There's no suggestion this was the case with Pettifer but it's an overlooked factor in stories about nasty bankers sending companies to the wall.

It was touched on by Telford Homes this week. The company has an air of openness about it and chief exec Andrew Wiseman was at pains to labour the company's good relationship with senior people at the bank to help it through the downturn.

Several financial sources have stressed the human factor plays a crucial part in the equation and one recently said: "Banks won't immediately pull the plug if they trust management."

Of course, that's not to say banks won't jump all over companies for the merest breach of covenant or ignore the overtures made by Peter Mandelson about freeing up credit for SMEs.

Questions also have to be raised about the damage done by slow payers and retentions. Many would no doubt go so far as to argue that they are bigger problems than a shrinking overdraft.