In the first arrangement of its kind, the high street bank Santander and the crowd funding platform Funding Circle have agreed to pilot a scheme for businesses turned down for loans.
SMEs that have their loan applications turned down by Santander will be proactively referred to Funding Circle to explore alternative consumer-to-business funding options, it has been announced. Over the past five years, Funding Circle has helped more than 5000 businesses to access £290m of investment, creating over 15,000 jobs in the UK alone. The organisation believes that collaboration between banks and funding platforms has the potential to create an “efficient, transparent and honest service for customers.”
Since it began offering loans to SMEs in 2009, Santander has increased net lending by 15% year-on-year – at a time when most banks were reining in funding for entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, at the International Festival for Business 2014 in Liverpool, Santander UK’s CEO Ana Botín reiterated the role that banks and public organisations have to play in supporting new businesses to launch and expand. “If we want the economy to grow, if we truly want to help businesses, we should share the responsibility for helping businesses break into new markets,” she said. “We cannot simply be spectators, cheering from the sidelines: we have to get onto the pitch and play our part.”
Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, commented: “This partnership recognises our role as the only marketplace that caters for, and is dedicated to, small businesses. In Santander we have found a fellow challenger brand that shares our commitment to putting small business customers’ needs first. They have created a blueprint for other banks to follow.”