Two UK banks have kicked off the new year with what they are framing as a further commitment to their small business customers. First, Metro Bank says it will provide £1bn in lending to SMEs in the coming year, building on last year’s growing lending rates.
According the bank, the first three quarters of 2016 saw it lend £551m to businesses, following a total of 544m lent over the course of 2015.
Mark Stokes, managing director of commercial banking at Metro Bank, commented: “Businesses are the very bedrock of the UK economy and it’s absolutely vital that lenders do what they can to support their growth.
“Despite the immediate uncertainty following the EU referendum, our customers remain confident about the future and we remain committed to supporting them as they go from strength to strength.”
‘Loans in an hour’
Meanwhile, Barclays has beefed up its SME offering with the news that it will launch a new service on its mobile banking app which it says can help small businesses access loans in less than an hour.
Ian Rand, chief executive of business banking at Barclays, said: “We recognise that some businesses are cautious about applying for a loan, whilst many more simply do not have the time.
“Our new, pre-assessed lending gives customers the ability to see how much they could borrow on their mobile and we can get that money to them more quickly than ever so they can invest in and focus on running their businesses.”
Mr Rand said that since the EU Referendum, the bank’s appetite for lending “Has not diminished, and we continue to lend to an SME in the UK every four minutes.
We want to help SMEs be confident in their future business plans, including looking at new opportunities to export. We are particularly determined to reach out to those businesses who believe lending will be more difficult next year to see where we can help.”