Esme Loans, NatWest's standalone digital lending platform for SMEs is being wound up as the pandemic takes its toll on the UK's small business community.
Launched as a pilot by NatWest in early 2017, Esme Loans offered an alternative financing option for SME customers looking for faster, unsecured business loans for a wide range of business purposes, alongside its range of conventional lending options.
The bank has poured considerable effort into the initiative, which is open to loan applications of up to £250,000. Earlier this year it was boasting of 300% growth having partnered with Ezbob to use Open Banking data and advanced analytics to streamline the application process and lower its costs.
However the business appears to have faltered under the crushing effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on its small and medium sized business customers.
The bank flagged the closure ion the Esmea Loans Wesbite: "Esme Loans is being closed and is not accepting any new loan applications. Businesses that currently have a loan with us are not affected by this decision and are still able to log into their Dashboard as usual.
"The team will continue to service current clients and is always happy to speak to customers, brokers and partners to answer any questions they may have."