NatWest adds £5bn of funding to help SMEs get through coronavirus crisis

Extra £5bn of funding added to £8bn Growth Fund as small business braces for worst as coronavirus takes hold

NatWest is offering an extra £5bn in borrowing for small business through its Growth Fund in order to help combat uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

Last April, NatWest doubled its Growth Fund to £6bn and then added another £2.2bn of capacity on top to help SMEs deal with Brexit uncertainty.

To date, £6.5bn of funding for SMSs has already been committed through the Growth Fund.

The extra funding is aimed at SMEs that might experience cashflow issues as the ongoing crisis accelerates. The coronavirus epidemic is expected to peak in Britain at Easter.

Other remedies being offered by NatWest include:

  • Loan repayment holidays
  • Temporary emergency loans with no fees
  • Granting overdrafts or overdraft extensions
  • Cashflow support with credits limits ranging from £25,000 to £500,000

Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest, said: “The ongoing uncertainty that the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses are experiencing is unprecedented even by recent standards. While many of our customers are yet to feel the direct impacts of coronavirus, I want NatWest to have the right support in place, so we are there to help our SME customers when they need us most.

”This is a priority for NatWest, and we will remain proactive, continuing to listen to our customers – we are here to support and can help businesses manage any short-term disruption. SMEs should not feel like they have to go through these uncertain times alone, we are here to help.”

As a founding signatory of the government’s SME Finance Charter, NatWest already works with government to assist SMEs.

NatWest says it may increase SME support again if the virus is not contained within the expected timescale.

Paul Thwaite, CEO commercial banking NatWest, said: “The impacts our customers may experience will vary from sector to sector, but we want to be proactive in the way we support them and to use our size and scale, combined with our detailed customer and sectoral knowledge to ensure the UK’s SMEs are supported through the impact of the Coronavirus. We are here to help, there is support available and we want to get it to those who need it.”

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