Merlin project on track as banks deliver business loans
Banks are close to meeting their targets for lending to small and medium-sized firms, it has been announced today, with £37.4bn of business loans provided to SMEs so far this year.
Within the Merlin agreement five big banks agreed with Government to make more funding accessible to SMEs. Small firms are the drivers of local economies and will take a lead in economic recovery. So the increase in loans is great news for fledgling businesses and the wider community.
However, there is still a concern that smaller organisations have become discouraged from seeking finance and that there will be some businesses that don't meet the banks’ lending criteria.
So we are encouraged that three of the big banks – Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland – have also signed up as corporate members of Foundation East.
As a community finance organisation, our work is complementary to the work of banks. We are keen that all banks in East Anglia refer businesses to us when they are unable to offer finance. If these companies have a viable business plans then we may be able to support them with a business loan of up to £50,000.
The availability of business loans, through banks and through community finance organisations, means that anyone who has a strong business idea shouldn’t be put off. My advice to someone with a dream of founding a business is to persevere. Owning a business is a rewarding journey and there is finance available to help.
Peter Wood, Business Loans Manager