Ben Woods, Business writer
Monday, March 24, 2014
A major bank is to enhance its commitment to small-and-medium-sized businesses with a new charter that pledges to lend a further £1bn this year.
Lloyds Banking Group said it will meet the pledge by doubling the amount local managers can lend to the SME market without asking for approval from £500,000 to £1m.
It will also aim to get 100,000 start up firms off the ground and running this year, while exports will be supported by increasing the lending through trade finance for overseas business by 25pc.
The improvements to the charter come after campaigns by government and the private sector for banks to do more to increase lending to entrepreneurs and fast-growth firms.
Gareth Oakley, regional director SME Banking in London and East, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “This new charter clearly sets out the pledges we are making to our customers.
“We are committing to grow our total lending by £1bn in 2014, at competitive margins, building on the growth we have achieved over the past three years; and we have doubled the amount certain local managers can lend at their own discretion.
“We will be fair and transparent in all of our dealings with our customers; and will provide broader support through our Relationship Managers and business specialists, as well as a growing number of business mentors.
“We are now seeing the recovery gathering pace and there are more reasons for small and medium-sized enterprises to be optimistic and to start investing for growth.
“We will continue to give businesses the backing they need, so that they can seize these opportunities. Our goal is to help businesses target their various growth opportunities both this year and beyond.”
In January, regional banking chiefs revealed that net lending had risen across the east.
Lloyds reported a net lending growth of 5pc in the east of England, with £62m leant to the region’s manufacturing sector in the nine months to January.
HSBC saw a 6pc rise in net lending to East Anglia firms with a turnover of £30m or more by December last year.
Barclays reported an improving picture for Norfolk, with net lending up 1.6pc, including a 10pc rise in lending to the agricultural sector nationwide.
And Santander, which has a smaller presence in the region, increased its lending in East Anglia by 25pc in the 12 months to September – totalling £137m.
Are you struggling to get the finance you need for your business? Contact business writer Ben Woods on email@example.com or call 01603 772426.
A Norwich-based business which started as a “man with a van” operation is eyeing further expansion after seeing its predicted turnover increase from £6,000 to £340,000 within five years.