We provide the latest information released by the UK’s banks detailing the support on offer to SME customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Lloyds Banking Group: £2 billion of arrangement fee free finance available to support SMEs

Lloyds Banking Group has announced the allocation of up to £2 billion of arrangement fee free finance to support Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to ensure they have access to additional finance to help overcome any impact that Covid-19 may have on their cashflow.

This additional financial support, which has now been confirmed for small business customers with up to £25 million turnover, will include the removal of certain fees and the possibility of payment holidays for the worst affected (subject to individual agreements), explains Lloyds.

Under this £2 billion financial support, Lloyds Banking Group’s small business customers can access:

  • No arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases
  • No arrangement fees for new or increased invoice discounting and finance facilities
  • In certain circumstances, repayment holidays to be provided, to those businesses impacted the most (subject to individual agreements)

Lloyds adds that all customers with a dedicated relationship manager will be contacted to discuss their financial needs.

David Oldfield, group director of commercial banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We fully understand how worrying these times are for business owners, concerned not only about their and their own family’s health and wellbeing, but also of their employees. They are also worried what the outbreak might mean for their business and with no knowledge of how or when they might be affected.

“As our customers face into such uncertainty, we want to provide reassurance to them that, if needed, we are here to help with additional working capital to get them through temporary interruptions to their business and to their cashflow.”


RBS Group: Natwest pledges £5 billion Working Capital Support for SMEs during coronavirus outbreak

Natwest has outlined the initial support it will provide to SMEs across the UK, including a £5 billion Working Capital Support extension to its Growth Funding Package, ongoing support and practical advice for businesses.

The package of support for SMEs throughout the UK will help across all sectors, and where there is the greatest disruption and need, explains Natwest.

The SME support also includes:

  • Loan repayment holidays
  • Temporary emergency loans with no fees
  • Natwest’s team of relationship managers based in communities across the UK will proactively speak to business customers offering help and support as they form their plans to mitigate the impact of coronavirus
  • The bank’s team of locally-based business growth enablers will also work with their external networks to distribute information to businesses on coronavirus preparedness
  • Continued work with the government, British Business Bank and UK Finance to understand the evolving impacts and appropriately support SMEs
  • Proactive outreach to those SMEs that may be experiencing short-term trading issues due to coronavirus to ensure they are able to access the best possible range of support
  • Through Natwest Mentor, the provision of consultancy and advice to help support businesses. This can range from employment law and HR advice, to health and safety and environmental management consultancy
  • Specific sectoral insight and advice from dedicated Sector Banker specialists

Alison Rose, CEO of Natwest, added: “The ongoing uncertainty that the UK’s small and medium sized businesses are experiencing is unprecedented even by recent standards. While many of our customers are yet to feel the direct impacts of coronavirus, I want Natwest to have the right support in place, so we are there to help our SME customers when they need us most.

“This is a priority for Natwest and we will remain proactive, continuing to listen to our customers – we are here to support and can help businesses manage any short-term disruption. SMEs should not feel like they have to go through these uncertain times alone, we are here to help.”


Barclays: 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25k for SMEs

Barclays has announced 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25,000 to help support SMEs through the coronavirus outbreak.

The bank says it will also be able to provide SMEs:

  • Increased or new overdraft facilities, and other working capital solutions
  • Access to funding – 360,000 SMEs have pre-assessed lending limits, which can be accessed via the Barclays app or online banking

Last year, Barclays also launched a £14 billion lending fund, which is very much there to help SMEs build resilience during uncertain times, explains the bank. More details of this can be found at: www.home.barclays/news/2019/04/sme-lending-fund/

Ian Rand, chief executive of Barclays business banking, said: “Our network of relationship managers has been reaching out to SMEs across the UK to see if they require additional support during this time, as we do regularly when we see any events which may have an impact on our clients.

“Barclays is ready to help, whether that’s with managing cash-flow or any other support, and we encourage any customer who needs guidance to call us or contact their relationship manager.”


TSB: Mortgage repayment holidays offered to customers affected by coronavirus

TSB has announced it will offer mortgage repayment holidays to customers affected by the coronavirus.

“If you’ve been affected due to coronavirus, due to illness or the need to self-isolate, and you’re worried about how this may impact you financially, we’re here to help,” says TSB.

The bank has stated that customers affected by Covid-19 that have a TSB mortgage may apply for a repayment holiday for up to two months – for new customers joining TSB, mortgage advisers and brokers will work with them to understand their individual position.

Customers will also be able to waive early closure fees on TSB’s Fixed Rate ISA products, and the bank will allow Fixed Bond customers to surrender their policies early to gain access to their money.

TSB explains that its customers may also request an emergency credit limit increase, while current account holders can apply to the bank for an increased cash withdrawal limit for up to £500 or more (depending on each individual case).

The bank adds that personal loan products all have repayment holidays available as standard for any customers who need short-term relief on their outgoings, and that all business banking customers should contact TSB directly for assistance according to their individual case.


HSBC: £5 billion allocated to help SMEs in need of support during coronavirus outbreak

HSBC has announced the allocation of £5 billion from its £14 billion SME Lending Fund to help businesses tackle the financial impact of the coronavirus.

The bank has also asked relationship managers to proactively contact customers to see what help their businesses need, and launched a helpline to support any customer queries (08000 121 614), which is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

For those affected by the coronavirus, HSBC said it will also consider offering repayment holidays to free up cash within businesses, and would review overdrafts or trade loans to allow stock to be held for longer. The bank said would also consider providing trade finance solutions to support customers with their supply chains.

For personal customers in financial difficulty, HSBC said its support could also include:

  • Short-term support through reduced or deferred payments for mortgages, with longer term support through extending the remaining term of a customer’s mortgage, switching rates or switching part or all to interest-only mortgage arrangements
  • Giving customers early access to fixed rate savings accounts without closure charges
  • Offering support for customers with unsecured debt through reduced payments or breathing space to defer payments due – these solutions would be tailored to individual customer need
  • The option of a temporary increase in credit card and overdraft limits

Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, said: “We know that the finances of some customers will be affected by Covid-19, so we have created this range of support measures to help them through these uncertain times.

“We’re encouraging our personal and business customers to contact us if they are concerned about their finances so we can help find the most appropriate solution for their individual circumstances.”

For tips and advice for businesses around planning for any possible disruption, visit: www.business.hsbc.com/novel-coronavirus

For personal customers facing financial difficulty, information is available at: https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/money-worries/


The Co-operative Bank: Relationship managers to offer support to SMEs affected by coronavirus

Donald Kerr, director of SME banking at The Co-operative Bank, has released the following statement:

“We recognise that this is a concerning time for small businesses across the country, as many will be unsure how steps to tackle coronavirus on a national scale will impact their livelihoods.

“Small and micro-businesses, in particular, could potentially see an impact on profits, and could face staff shortages if employees need to take steps to self-isolate. We have yet to see the broader economic impact this situation will have on the nation’s SMEs, but we stand poised to support them.

“As a bank that works closely with SMEs across the country, we have taken action to contact our customers who we’ve identified as most at risk from the issues that the coronavirus outbreak has raised, including impact on supply chains in the worst hit areas of the world.

“Our relationship managers are here to support all of our customers, and we want to hear from any SMEs that bank with us to let us know if there is any additional help they need as the situation continues to evolve in the UK.

“Currently we’re having conversations with customers to understand if key precautions such as adequate insurances and continuity plans are in place and also understanding if there is any help needed with additional cash flow.

“We are also working closely with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to ensure that c21,000 members who hold a bespoke FSB Business Banking account with us are getting as much support as they need.

“The FSB has made advice, information and further support readily available online for members and our relationship managers are also sharing this with customers who they are supporting at this time.”


Santander: Relationship team on hand to offer practical and financial support to those affect by coronavirus

Santander has released the following statement:

“We have a dedicated relationship team on hand to offer practical and financial support in a timely and efficient way.

“Our relationship teams are proactively calling all of our small and mid-sized business customers to offer our continued and increased support wherever possible through this period of extreme uncertainty, including helping clients new and old to manage their cash flow and to provide any other services or changes that they may need.

“So far only a handful of clients have requested additional support, although we expect this to increase over the coming days and weeks – we would encourage any customer concerned about their situation to contact us as quickly as possible, and we will support them.

“We also have messages on our corporate and business bank websites to remind customers to call their relationship teams if they have any concerns.”