UK banks dole out £1.1 billion in Coronavirus loans to SMEs

Source: UK Finance

The banking and finance sector has lent over £1.1 billion to SMEs so far through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), UK Finance has revealed today.

Total lending under the scheme has grown by £700 million in the last week, an increase of 150 per cent.

6,020 loans have now been provided through CBILS, more than double the number that had been provided one week ago. The number of loans approved each day continues to rise, increasing from 240 on 2 April to 910 on 8 April, with a further 1,800 loans worth over £300 million recorded over the bank holiday weekend.

Total lending under the scheme has increased rapidly from £453 million on 6 April to £1.115 billion a week later, while the average value of a CBILS loan has grown to over £185,000.

Lenders have received 28,460 formal applications2 to the scheme from businesses. Over 6,000 of these applications have been approved already, while others are still being processed and are expected to be approved over the coming days.

Staff in branches and call centres are working tirelessly to provide businesses with finance to help them get through the current economic challenges. All lenders are looking to provide support quickly and flexibly and will take into account a business’s individual circumstances in accordance with the terms of the scheme.

Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said:
“The banking and finance sector recognises the challenging conditions faced by many businesses and the critical role we must play in helping the country get through this crisis.

“Frontline staff in local branches and call centres are working incredibly hard to help firms access finance as quickly as possible amid unprecedented demand. Like all businesses they are working at reduced capacity as many staff are self-isolating or looking after family.

“I am grateful that so many colleagues worked through the bank holiday so that over one billion pounds of support has now been delivered to businesses. We expect this figure to continue to grow rapidly as lenders work hard to help get Britain through the current crisis.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
“Getting finance to businesses is a key part of our plan to support jobs and the economy during this crisis - and we’re working with lenders to ensure support reaches those in need as soon as physically possible.

“Loan approvals have doubled in a week with more than 6,000 businesses benefiting from over £1.1 billion of loans - and it’s vital we continue this upward trajectory.”
Like other industries across the country, staffing levels at banks and other lenders are lower than usual as employees self-isolate at home. Coupled with the increased demand for assistance from customers, this means that it may take longer to speak to a member of staff at a bank branch or call centre. Businesses looking to access CBILS are therefore advised to look at their lender’s website to find out the latest information on the support available and how to apply. This information is being updated regularly to provide businesses with guidance and to help them access the finance they need.

They can also consider approaching other lenders, including the 43 accredited CBILS providers, if they are unable to access the finance they need in the first instance.

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