Businesses borrow £27m to fund future

Ian Cowie (below) of the Nat West and RBS
Ian Cowie (below) of the Nat West and RBS
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Small and medium sized businesses in the Blackpool area have taken on loans of £27m from one high street bank over the past year thanks to the Funding for Lending scheme.

Figures from the Bank of England revealed that the Royal Bank of Scotland (including NatWest) has increased net lending through the scheme by £245m in the last quarter.

Ian Cowie of the Nat West and RBS

Ian Cowie of the Nat West and RBS

Since the launch of the scheme in August 2012, a total of 254 Fylde-based businesses have saved around £812k through the £27m of loans from NatWest and RBS lent under FLS.

Recent, encouraging figures show that demand for lending is improving across the UK, with SME loan and overdraft applications up six per cent quarter on quarter.

Firms with turnovers of up to £25m, which were feeling optimistic as the economy improves, have been looking to expand with plans for new property, equipment, or for refurbishment.

NatWest has being proactively contacting its Lancashire SME customers offering to lend a total of £60m more in a bid to drive growth in the region.

Across the North West it has loaned out £870m.

The bank made available an initial £4bn to proactively offer to customers across the UK and has now increased the pot to £10bn allowing its relationship managers to contact thousands more SMEs in the coming months.

Ian Cowie, CEO of business and commercial banking for NatWest and RBS, said: “Up until now we have lent £27m to businesses in Blackpool through the Funding for Lending scheme, but we want to do more.

“That is why we are now proactively speaking to customers to let them know how much we could lend to them if they want to invest.

“That presents opportunities for SMEs and will benefit the local economy here in Blackpool.”

He added that proactively approaching customers, quicker credit decisions and a new website are among a number of actions taken in response to the Independent Lending Review headed by Sir Andrew Large.

Ian Cowie added: “We want to support even more businesses, that is why we commissioned the lending review, and why we will act on its findings.

“We want to make it simpler for customers to work with us, boost lending to SMEs and drive growth in the UK economy.”