The Association of Convenience Stores is calling on retailers to help it tell the government about the difficulties small businesses face with banks.

It is taking part in the government's Financing a Private Sector Recovery consultation, which is assessing what action the government needs to take to ensure banks do lend to reputable and sustainable businesses.

The confidential ACS lending survey asks retailers to provide information on the banks' changing attitudes towards investment loans, transaction charges and credit.

The survey comes as more indies express concern about the banks. Last week Nisa-Today's retailer Kishor Patel warned that indies were having to "jump through bureaucratic and time-consuming hoops" to borrow. "Retailers feel under pressure from the banks to agree to additional costs, such as increased rates, set-up fees, valuations and debt hedging," he said.

The Forum of Private Business has claimed inaccurate property valuations are preventing many smaller companies from accessing affordable lending. It found banks were under-valuing properties when considering them as security for business loans.

"This has left many valuers with inadequate market data that, given economic conditions, will make them more pessimistic, resulting in lower valuations on commercial properties," said Forum property adviser Andrew Bacon.