Banks Pledge £1.5bn for New Small Business Growth Fund

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Britain’s leading bank executives have published their recommendations for increasing small business finance. Chaired by Barclays Group Chief Executive John Varley, the Business Finance Taskforce is a joint initiative by six British banks and the British Bankers’ Association and was formed in July to analyse how to increase the flow of small business loans and commercial mortgages.

Britain’s leading bank executives have published their recommendations for increasing small business finance. Chaired by Barclays Group Chief Executive John Varley, the Business Finance Taskforce is a joint initiative by six British banks and the British Bankers’ Association and was formed in July to analyse how to increase the flow of small business loans and commercial mortgages.

Business finance has been a hot topic since the turbulent markets began in 2008. The new report ‘Supporting UK business’ aims to address concerns about business finance and in particular the perception that banks are not lending enough to small businesses.

The Taskforce report outlines wide-ranging actions that the six banks (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Santander and Standard Chartered) have committed to in three areas – improving customer relationships, ensuring better access to finance, and providing better information and promoting understanding.

The banks have pledged the following commitments:

  •     Creating a new £1.5bn Business Growth Fund to provide capital for viable businesses which want to invest and grow
  •     Establishing transparent loans appeals processes for when loan applications are declined. For every lending application which is declined the banks will commit to fully explain the reasons in writing. For customers who do not accept the decline decision the banks will introduce processes which will allow customers to ask for a second opinion and allow customers to appeal a decision if the bank has not followed the Lending Code or Lending Principles correctly
  •     Improved access to finance and standards of service in an extended Lending Code setting out their rights and sources for help
  •     Recommendations on amendments to the UK regulatory regime to put it on par with other markets and improve the flow of credit.
  •     Support a network of business mentors by working with the Federation of Small Businesses and business groups to deliver this free service to small businesses

The chief executives of the six banks acknowledge their “special responsibility” to keep credit lines open to business and to maintain confidence in the financial recovery. Read the full text of the report for further details on the proposals.

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking (current accounts and savings accounts), credit cards, corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 140,000 people. Barclays moves, invests and protects money and provides personal loans, life insurance, business bank accounts and other services for over 49 million customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website http://www.barclays.co.uk.

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Emma Austin
Barclays
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