Yorkshire Bank owner pledges £6bn small firm lending

CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said it will make a minimum of £6 billion of lending available from 2017 to 2019 to help fuel the growth of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK.

CYBG’s SME business is focused on firms based across the UK’s regions, with more than 90% of SME lending done in areas outside of London.

CYBG’s research showed that 41% of businesses based in the UK regions — outside of London and the South East — believe they do not have access to finance on an equal basis to businesses located in London.

The research suggested 35% of SMEs continued to find accessing finance from banks a challenge.

Indeed, 9% of SMEs said that accessing finance was either “very difficult” or “almost impossible.”

CYBG’s commitment includes:

  • £1 billion available to support the day-to-day finance needs of SMEs
  • £350 million targeted at providing facilities for medium sized businesses seeking finance for growth
  • up to £200 million in lending available to SMEs in the agriculture sector supporting the UK’s rural economies
  • £650 million available to support our other key sectors that provide lending for major property purchases, financial services and the UK’s industrial base

The survey also revealed that SMEs identified an increase in the availability of finance as the most important factor in their region which could help them grow and prosper, with 41% of SMEs saying it was the most important development in their region.

CYBG said that following its listing as an independent bank in 2016, its core SME business returned to growth for the first time in five years in 2016, growing by 6.1% overall, with new loans and facilities granted growing by 15% in the year ending September 30, 2016.

The survey also indicated that of those SMEs seeking finance from a bank:

  • 24% intend to use the finance to hire new staff
  • 20% plan to invest in new infrastructure or capital equipment
  • 20% plan to buy or refurbish premises
  • 18% would use new finance for working capital
  • 9% said they would invest in research & development

Gavin Opperman, group customer banking director, CYBG, said: “With our rich and longstanding heritage across core regional economies, we recognise the important role local businesses have in forming the backbone of the UK economy, by providing employment and financial security for business owners and their employees …

“Our focus on developing lifelong relationships with our customers via our business banking centres and regional managers means we have developed the expertise to understand the varying challenges businesses face at different stages in their lifecycle.

“With more than £2 billion in funding available in 2017 and £6 billion over the next three years, CYBG is proud to finance the innovation and creativity of small and medium enterprises across the UK.”