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RBS Funding for SMEs

Published: 09/3/15

Royal Bank of Scotland has recently joined other high street banks in aiming to open up funding to small business. RBS has partnered up with alternative lenders Funding Circle and Assetz Capital to help SMEs gain finance.

Companies rejected for a loan by high street banks because they are deemed too risky will, as an alternative, be referred to the peer-to-peer lenders offering another opportunity to secure funds.

The pilot for this government backed scheme started late January in Scotland and South-West England. If successful, it will then be rolled-out over the rest of the UK over the next three months. RBS said it plans to work with as many as five so-called peer-to-peer business (P2P) lenders, which matches borrowers with private investors.

The partnership may help to rebuild public trust in the 80% taxpayer-owned bank, which recently admitted to mis-selling loans to SMEs under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme, and has also been accused of deliberately bankrupting small businesses for profit.

Alison Rose, RBS' chief executive of commercial and private banking at RBS said that she was "delighted" by the partnership and that the bank is "dedicated to supporting SMEs, whether they are an existing customer of RBS or not."

"We are committed to doing the right thing for our customers by helping them access finance where we cannot help them within our current risk appetite," she said.

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, said that the government-backed partnership signifies "a huge vote of confidence" in the peer-to-peer lending model, and recognises the company's role as "the largest marketplace for unsecured and secured small business lending." Funding Circle says that it is now the fourth largest lender to small businesses in the UK.

He added: " we look forward to working together to create thousands more opportunities for small businesses to access finance and grow.”

Download the Boost Capital Infographic on Why Business Growth is Essential to Britain.

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