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171 SMEs in Hull boosted by £22m lending pot

Date Added: 18/12/2013  

Over 170 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hull have benefited from a £22 million funding pot over the last 12 months. Through the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have helped these businesses to grow and establish themselves.

The FLS scheme was launched in July 2012, through a collaboration between the government and the Bank of England (BoE). 

This project allows banks and building societies to borrow from the BoE at a rate that is cheaper than the market rate for up to four years. This helps them to lend more money to businesses by lowering interest rates and making it easier to access credit.

In April this year, the government and the BoE announced that they would be extending the FLS scheme to January 2015 and would be adding extra incentives to boost lending towards SMEs.

This has clearly been successful in Hull, as owners of SMEs have been able to borrow more money to boost their businesses.

Ian Cowie, chief executive officer of business and commercial banking for NatWest and RBS, said: "We are the UK's biggest lender to SMEs and that is great news, but we want to do more.

"That is why we are now 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 in Hull."

Earlier this month, the BoE revealed that RBS and NatWest had increased net lending through the FLS scheme by £245 million in the last quarter of the financial year.

The latest figures reveal that the demand for lending is improving across Hull and the rest of the UK, with SME loan and overdraft applications up six per cent from the last quarter. 

Businesses are being encouraged by banks to explore the funding avenues that are available to them.

Mr Cowie added:  "We want to support even more businesses.”

This news comes after the RBS group was slammed by Lawrence Tomlinson for unfair business practices that led to some SMEs being ruined in order for the bank to make even more profits. 

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