Banks pledge SME support

Abbey and Alliance & Leicester are to participate in government-led initiatives to increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Alliance & Leicester is joining the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, which provides participating banks with a 75 per cent guarantee on loans to companies with sales of less than £25 million, while Abbey has applied for an initial £100 million from the European Investment Bank’s €15 billion fund for SMEs.

The UK banks, both owned by Spanish financial services group Santander, will make both schemes available to existing and new clients of either one of them.

Steve Pateman, Abbey’s managing director of UK corporate and commercial banking, says the bank increased its lending to SMEs by 30 per cent last year and attracted £4 billion in new deposits.

Pateman, who joined Abbey from Royal Bank of Scotland last year, adds, ‘Many businesses are not only encountering challenges in their own business but are also finding their banking facilities being repriced or withdrawn with little consideration to the wider or historic relationship.’

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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