UK businesses fear losing access to rebound loans after lender Tide dries up | Loan financing
Nearly 100 UK companies could be prevented from securing refills promised on government-backed Covid loans after their lender ran out of cash.
The Guardian understands that small businesses that have successfully received a rebound loan (BBLS) from non-bank lender Tide are struggling to secure new loans to cope with the second foreclosure after the finance company ran out of funds this summer .
Unless Tide can guarantee private investment or cheap financing that is only available to licensed banks, affected small businesses could be excluded from the lending system as most accredited lenders are closed to new customers.
The Treasury’s rebound lending program (BBLS), which has so far distributed £ 40bn to 1.3m businesses, has already been criticized by an all-party parliamentary group after finding that around 250,000 small and medium-sized enterprises could have been locked outside of the first plan because they do not do business with any of the 28 approved lenders.
Business groups have said they fear that if the number of accredited lenders declines, as seems likely, the number of businesses unable to access second-round funds will be even higher.
Hannah Essex, co-executive director of the UK Chamber of Commerce, said: “Banks, regulators and the government need to work together to ensure that companies that have already applied to non-bank lenders are not denied the money they need to get through a difficult winter.
Mike Cherry, president of the Federation of Small Businesses, said it was important for struggling businesses to have access to the funds they need so badly. “As many companies have requested rebound facilities at a time when the extent of the disruption was unclear, it is critical that the rollout of the recharge initiative be successful. ”
Tide – a non-bank lender – managed to provide £ 50million in rebound loans earlier this year, but stopped lending in July when it failed to secure additional funding from investors . He is currently reviewing official documents related to the program and trying to figure out how he could finance the supplements promised by the UK government last week.
Under the new Treasury rules, small businesses that have already received a loan – but did not request the maximum allowance when they first applied – can apply for a top-up in light of the new foreclosure measures. The total loan can represent 25% of annual turnover, up to £ 50,000.
The extension, which is expected to launch by Tuesday this week, will be a lifeline for small businesses across the UK during the new lockdown.
The British Business Bank, which is responsible for administering the emergency lending program, said: “Lending decisions under the rebound lending program are fully delegated to approved lenders. If a lender does not have the capital to support the continued funding of new or complementary BBLs, the British Business Bank is not in a position to force them to lend.
“We are unable to comment on business discussions with our delivery partners, but we expect most borrowers to be able to start requesting top-up BBLs early next week, subject to meeting the criteria. of eligibility. “
Tide is a non-bank lender, which means it doesn’t hold deposits and instead has to rely on money collected from investors to turn it into loans. Tide is also not eligible for the Bank of England’s term finance program for small business loans, which has made it easier for banks to borrow money to fund bounce loans, matched a fixed interest rate of 2.5%.
Tide said in a blog post in August that it “continues to ask” the government for access to Bank of England loans to fund further rebound loans.
The Treasury declined to comment.