Banks approved £2bn ($2.4bn)-worth of Treasury-supported ‘Bounce Back’ loans in the first day of the schemes operation, new figures show.
The Treasury said on Wednesday that Britain’s seven biggest banks — Barclays (BARC.L), Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO), HSBC (HSBA.L), Lloyds (LLOY.L), RBS (RBS.L), Santander (SAN.MC), and Virgin Money (VMUK.L) — approved 69,000 loans during the first 24 hours of the scheme, which launched on Monday 4 May.
The banks received over 130,000 applications for ‘Bounce Bank’ loans on Monday alone. The loans are 100% backed by the government and are meant to support small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Bank staff have been working flat out since the scheme launched on Monday morning to process applications and get money out to eligible borrowers and these figures are testament to their hard work and the commitment of the industry to support businesses of all size,” said Stephen Jones, chief executive of banking lobby group UK Finance.
‘Bounce Back’ loans were announced by the Treasury last week. The government has agreed to guarantee 100% of loans worth up to £50,000 to companies.
“These loans will help them bounce back from this crisis – getting money fast – so it’s great to see close to 70,000 businesses benefitting in just the first day,” chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement. “It’s vital this speedy progress continues in the days and weeks ahead.”
The ‘Bounce Back’ scheme was launched after criticism of the government’s flagship business support measure, coronavirus business interruption loans (CBIL). The Treasury stood behind only 80% of the value of these loans, meaning banks still had to do time consuming credit and viability checks that slowed the speed of lending.
Wednesday’s figures show the ‘Bounce Back’ scheme has already lent in one day almost half of what the CBIL scheme managed in six weeks.
UK Finance’s Jones said businesses should be aware they are still on the hook for any cash they borrow despite the government ultimately guaranteeing the borrowing.
“While businesses only need to fill in a simple form online to apply, it’s important to remember that this type of finance is debt, not a government or bank grant, and will need to be repaid by the borrower over the six year term of the loan,” he said.
“All businesses should consider carefully their repayment obligations before completing a Bounce Back Loan application.”