Banking sector lends £1.1bn to SMEs through Covid-19 scheme

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

The trade association revealed that total lending under the scheme had grown by £700m in the last week, reflecting an increase of 150%.

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

Total lending under the scheme has increased rapidly from £453m on 6 April to £1.12bn a week later, while the average value of a CBILS loan has grown to over £185,000.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, commented: “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 £1.1bn of loans - and it’s vital we continue this upward trajectory.”

UK Finance also revealed that lenders had received 28,460 formal applications to the scheme from businesses, with over 6,000 of these applications having been approved, and others still being processed or expected to be approved over the coming days.

“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,” UK Finance chief executive, Stephen Jones, added.

“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.”

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