Challenger banks to help with coronavirus business loans

By Matt High
The British Business Bank has approved three challenger banks to extend coronavirus support to small businesses in the UK The British Business Bank, th...

The British Business Bank has approved three challenger banks to extend coronavirus support to small businesses in the UK

The British Business Bank, the state-owned development bank administering the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), has brought in more lenders to quicken the loan provision process.

Delivering emergency loans

It was reported by The Telegraph on 11 April that the bank has approved OakNorth, Starling Bank and Cynergy, together with the Co-operative Bank, into the programme. 

They will join other financial institutions in delivering the emergency coronavirus loans to small businesses in the UK that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Remote working, reduced footfall and disruption to business have had a serious effect on many of the nation’s companies. 

The Telegraph reported that the approach to these banks was as a result of frustration at the pace of access to the scheme, which Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced last month

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Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, Keith Morgan, is reported to have said that the added banks would help the organisation to satisfy the level of demand from UK business. 

According to The Telegraph, he stated: “These new lenders will be able to deploy vital funding and get additional finance flowing to smaller businesses across the UK as quickly as possible.” 

It was not confirmed when the banks would begin to deal with loan applications.

Time is of the essence

Challenger and fintechs have previously expressed interest in assisting with the delivery of the CBILS. 

For example, it was previously reported by The Telegraph that Head of Regulatory Affairs at OakNorth, Nick Lee said that “time is of the essence if we’re to preserve as many small and medium sized businesses as we possibly can”.

On the latest announcement, Chief Banking Officer at Starling, Helen Bierton was quoted as recognising the severity of the coronavirus on business owners, who she said are “crying out for help”. 

In such circumstances, she told The Telegraph, “the important thing now is to get money into their hands”.

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