The 2014 Lloyds Bank SME Charter will increase the bank’s business lending to SMEs by a net balance of at least £1 billion, the financial services provider says.
Lloyds Bank has already increased its lending in each of the past three years, including 6% growth in 2013, and says it is looking to continue to do so, at a time when many other banks are making it harder for businesses to borrow.
Bank managers are also being given more powers to approve new and renewed lending to businesses in their local area.
New lending of up to £500,000 is already able to be approved by Lloyds Bank managers under their own discretion.
Under the 2014 SME Charter, loan renewals of up to £1 million will also be allowed at the discretion of bank managers.
Meanwhile, new start-ups and ‘micro’ businesses – those with just a handful of employees – will be given more assistance when it comes to finding funding through non-traditional means.
Lloyds Bank says: “We will signpost start-up and micro businesses to community finance providers where they may be best able to help and suitable growth businesses to equity providers including the Business Growth Fund and business angel networks.”
Other measures outlined under the 2014 SME Charter include:
- 1% discount on SME lending via Funding for Lending.
- 1.5% cap on arrangement fees above fixed minimum levels.
- 90% of lending appeals considered within 15 working days.