"Financing projects from £50,000 to £100 million"

RBS to boost lending ahead of MPs' inquiry

RBS to boost lending ahead of MPs' inquiry

The Royal Bank of Scotland is set to make billions of pounds available to small and medium-sized businesses ahead of a Treasury Committee inquiry into business lending.

RBS and NatWest are preparing to alert their small business customers to the new opportunities available for investment.

Ian Cowie, the chief executive of business and commercial banking for the RBS Group, said: “We are proactively speaking to customers to let them know how much we could lend if they want to invest.”

The move follows the announcement from the Treasury Committee that it would be launching an inquiry into small business lending, amid concerns that it is still proving difficult for small firms to access funding.

The Government has recently redirected the Funding for Lending Scheme towards the commercial lending sector, away from the residential mortgage market where it had proved the catalyst to lower mortgage rates.

But the British Bankers’ Association has claimed that firms are underestimating their chances of success if they apply to their bank for new lending. It is launching a year-long campaign to persuade firms that banks are still open for business.

Nevertheless, the Treasury Committee inquiry will focus on firms’ access to finance, how competitive the commercial lending sector is, and how SMEs have been treated by banks.

RBS has some considerable making up to do in this sector, it would seem, as a cloud of recent allegations linger overhead.

The bank’s Global Restructuring Group, designed to nurse struggling businesses back to health, began forcing viable firms out of business during the financial crisis, according to businessman Lawrence Tomlinson.

Video courtesy of Channel Four News.

The committee is holding its first evidence session this week.

Andrew Tyrie, the Committee chairman, commented: “It is vital to a sustainable economic recovery in the UK that the market be restored to working order.

“SMEs are viewed as sophisticated customers by regulators when, in reality, many are not.

“The Committee will look at whether the scope and remit of the regulators provide adequate protection.”

Monday, 24 February 2014 14:16
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