Bank lending to small firms is on the rise

Chris Papadopoullos
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BANKS and building societies lent £490m to small business from April to June by using the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme, according to figures released yesterday.

While net lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is down on the £650m seen in the first three months of the year, it marks a change in trend over last year when lending consistently declined.

Lloyds Bank was responsible for £527m of net lending over the three month period while chal­lenger bank Aldermore was the second biggest net lender at £122m.

The Bank of England said SMEs were encouraged to borrow by a combination of better business conditions and easier access to finance.

The FLS scheme was launched in 2012 to incentivise lending.

“Over recent years lending to SMEs has consistently fallen, so it is welcome news that net lending over the first half of this year is bucking the trend,” said Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce.