The UK’s economic development bank has today reported that it supported over 98,000 businesses with around £8bn in financing in the last financial year.
The British Business Bank (BBB), which has come to increased prominence in the last six months due to its role in helping UK firms impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, said in its annual report that the figure was a 21 per cent increase on last year.
Over the year, it said that the amount it had lent for its start-up loans programme had also passed £500m. Last month, it handed out its 75,000th funding deal under the initiative.
The bank also said that it was now supporting 8,000 more small businesses outside of London than last year, when it helped out 75,000 such companies.
It announced 12 new delivery partners across its programmes during the period, bringing the total number of providers it was working with to over than 140.
Meanwhile, its commercial subsidiaries, British Business Investments and British Patient Capital, made a record level of commitments, totalling £952m over the year.
Having been set up in 2014, the BBB had previously supported “unicorns” such as Revolut, Oaknorth, and Transferwise.
But in recent months the bank has seen its role grow considerably as the pandemic shut down vast swathes of the economy.
It is now responsible for Covid-19 loan schemes covering 1.2m companies with over £52bn of debt, in part covered by government guarantees.
New chief executive Catherine Lewis La Torre, who replaced founder Keith Morgan at the beginning of the month, said:
“The bank and our role within the UK economy has been thrown into sharp relief as we continue to work as a trusted partner of government to create the conditions for improved access to finance that will enable smaller businesses to stabilise, prosper and grow.
“The results reported in this set of accounts, which include our support for £8bn of finance to 98,000 businesses, demonstrate that we continue to deliver value for money to the taxpayer.”
Lord Smith of Kelvin, the bank’s chair, said: “We expect the British Business Bank to play an increasingly important role in the UK’s economic recovery as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. We stand ready, willing and able to do what is needed to help address whatever challenges lie ahead.”