£1bn additional SME lending announced by RBS & Natwest
After the government has criticised the big banks about their low levels of lending to small businesses, RBS & Natwest have launched a new lending fund worth £1bn.
According to a statement from RBS, published 9th October 2014, the new funding will be a series of fixed-rate loans ranging from £1,000 to £250,000 which will not require any arrangement fee.
Les Matheson, CEO of personal and business banking for RBS said: “We want to be the number one bank for business customers and as we work to regain the trust in our bank we want our business customers to be confident that by doing business with us they can realise their ambitions.”
The £1bn will be split as shown in the below table:
|Yorkshire & North East||£110m|
|South Midlands & Anglia||£55m|
|Norfolk, Suffolk & Essex||£50m|
The fund is available immediately and will continue until the distributed target has been reached.
Another project RBS & Natwest are teaming up for is the launch of 8 business accelerator hubs that will be disbursed around the UK. Locations such as; Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast have already been confirmed as 6 of the 8 locations. The offering from these hubs will include free workspace, mentoring, a start-up “boot camp” and a free 18 month advice & support programme. These hubs will also give entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to potential investors in order to receive a “growth reward” of up to £50,000.
Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at Natwest says: “By opening up our premises and providing (start-ups) with support and a far reaching network of contacts, we are backing the businesses of tomorrow and helping ambitious entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.”
Both of these offerings from RBS and Natwest come after much criticism with regards to how banks are helping SMEs with finance and their development. With the increasingly popular non-bank lenders coming through such as Peer-to-Peer lending and Crowd funding, the banks are now starting to see that they need to improve their services to the UK’s SME market.