Lloyds Banking Group has today announced a £2bn fund design to help Britain’s SMEs through the coronavirus crisis.
Lloyds has allocated the arrangement fee-free finance to ensure smaller firms can ride out the impact if disruption from COVID-19 slows their cashflow.
The group’s Relationship have already reached out to more than 10,000 SMEs to discuss any concerns they already have on the potential impact a sustained COVID-19 outbreak may have on their business.
This additional financial support, which could be available to small business customers with up to £25m turnover, will include the removal of certain fees and the possibility of payment holidays for the worst affected.
So far, the day-to-day impact on most UK businesses has been minimal. There has, however, been disruption to supply chains, while a number of events have been cancelled.
As a result, confidence has plummeted across the business community.
Lloyds Banking Group says it wants to reassure its customers that it ‘continues to stand by their side’ and will provide them with additional financial support as required.
It is anticipated that a sustained and widescale outbreak in the UK will impact businesses and in particular their cashflows, as interruptions to supply chains or significant employee absence will severely impact their ability to generate sales and result in reduced revenues.
David Oldfield, Group Director, Commercial Banking, 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.”
Lloyds says these measures are another example of its ‘long-standing support for British businesses’ to help them navigate whatever the future holds.
In January this year, the group announced an £18bn commitment to support businesses during 2020. In addition, since the start of 2011, Lloyds has grown its net lending to small and medium-sized businesses by 36% at a time when the market has contracted by 11%.