HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and NatWest are among a number of institutions to have signed up for the SME Finance Charter, providing support to small and medium-sized business in the face of Brexit uncertainty.
The SME Finance Charter, led by the Business Finance Council (BFC), has set out a range of commitments demonstrating members’ support of SMEs throughout the UK.
Pledges have been signed off by the BFC in collaboration between finance providers, business organisations and the government.
The first pledge listed was the Bank of England stating the banking system is resilient and prepared for the wide range of risks it could face.
The second was “we’ll help you prepare for Brexit and beyond,” outlining what resources a lender will provide must include web resources, fact sheets, videos and workshops with face-to-face advice and signposting.
The third was helping support an application and signpost other options if needed, stating the lender will describe what they expect in an application.
The fourth was lenders treating customers fairly at all times and explain their commitment to this and resolving disputes.
The last was a pledge to work with the government-owned British Business Bank to support SMEs.
Lenders that have signed up to the charter are as follows:
Bank of Ireland UK
Bank of Scotland
Bibby Financial Services
Genesis Asset Finance
Henry Howard Finance
Secure Trust Bank
Mike Randall, chief exeuctive of Simply commented: “The SME Finance Charter is incredibly important and we’re proud to be a part of it. Ensuring entrepreneurs, family businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises across the country have access to the finance they need to grow and prosper is vital.
He added: “Simply has a company-wide commitment to SMEs, providing tailored solutions and long-term partnerships that will see them through good times and bad. SMEs want to feel safe in the knowledge they can get funding quickly and our business is built to do this.”
Small business minister Kelly Tollhurst said: “Financial support from banks and lenders is often crucial to the success of an SME. So it is great to see Simply reaffirming support for their business customers through our new SME Finance Charter.
She added: “Simply’s commitments of continued and proactive support will give their SME customers the confidence they need ahead of Brexit on 31 October and beyond – with opportunities to thrive, grow and scale up in new markets.”
UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, Edward Winterton pledged his support for the charter: “We recognise the importance of helping our clients and other MSEs to prepare for Brexit, which is why we have signed up to the SME Finance Charter. We’ve supported UK businesses for more than 35 years and are committed to continuing this support by helping them to access the funding they need and through additional services, throughout Brexit and beyond.”
Josh Levy, chief executive of Ultimate Finance, said: “We are proud to have signed the SME Finance Charter to affirm our unwavering commitment to UK SMEs across the country. Ultimate Finance is committed to supporting and facilitating businesses’ growth ambitions in all market conditions. We tailor our funding by looking at the bigger picture to find the right solution at the right time – an approach that’s integral in the current uncertain context.
He added: “Whatever happens to the UK economy and the terms of our departure from the EU, it’s certain that the country needs SMEs to continue to be as ambitious, flexible and resilient as before, and with the right funding and non-financial support that we will continue to provide, we have no doubt that businesses will rise to this, through Brexit and beyond.”
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