By Ciarán Burke, COO & Co-Founder, Swoop
Even though the bounce back loan scheme has been extended until January 31st, it has become very apparent that it will be very difficult for a business to obtain one with no high street banks open to BBL applications from new customers.
As of today (November 20), Starling Bank is the only accredited lender out of 28 who is open to BBL (Bounce Back Loan) applications from those who bank elsewhere. However, it isn’t automatically straight forward for those applicants either as there is currently a waitlist and priority is given to those businesses who already bank with Starling. Starling also does not guarantee that everyone on the waiting list will receive a loan.
Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander make up 90% of all BBLs so far. None of the five banks are taking on new customers. In fact, there are only a handful of banks that are willing to take on any new customers at the moment.
This leaves a large number of businesses locked out of the market from accessing the government backed lending facility. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking research has suggested that up to 250,000 businesses are affected by this.
The group has come out publicly to condone banks current approach to the BBL scheme with APPG co-chair and MP, Kevin Hollinrake, commenting that “over the last few weeks the handful of lenders who were open to new customers gradually closed their doors. The APPG has been campaigning on this issue for months and this must be addressed as a matter of priority.”
As of today (November 20) this is the stance with BBLs with each of the lenders. We recommend you check the list of accredited lenders regularly – lenders may be added and existing ones may start allowing non-customers to apply or open accounts.
- AIB. Open to existing customers.
- Bank of Ireland UK. Open to customers with accounts opened on or before May 4th 2020
- Bank of Scotland. Open to existing customers. Advises others to speak to their own main bank.
- Barclays. Accepting new business applications, but advises that they can take six weeks to process.
- Clydesdale Bank. Unable to give new customers a timeframe for reviewing a BBL application.
- Danske Bank. Existing customers only.
- HSBC. Open to new customers who open a business bank account or ‘temporary feeder account’.
- JCB Finance. Open to customers with an active finance agreement.
- Lloyds Bank. Open to existing customers. Advises others to speak to their own main bank.
- Metro Bank. Lending to existing customers. Potential customers need to have an in-store appointment to discuss opening a new account.
- NatWest. Open to existing customers. Not currently accepting new account applications.
- Paragon. Open to existing business customers only.
- Santander. You need a Santander current account.
- Skipton Business Finance. Open to new applications, BUT will only offer the scheme alongside an Invoice Finance facility.
- Starling Bank. You need a business account. Sole trader current account applications are currently closed.
- The Co-operative Bank. Only accepting applications for people who already have a Co-Op business or personal current account.
- RBS. Open to existing customers. Not currently accepting new account applications.
- Tide. You can register and join a waiting list.
- TSB. Only accepting applications from existing TSB Business Current Account customers.
- Ulster Bank. Open to existing customers. Not currently accepting new account applications.
- Yorkshire Bank. Unable to give new customers a timeframe for reviewing a Bounce Back Loan application.
Getting Access to Alternative Unsecured Lending Options
Outside of the BBL there are still a number of avenues SMEs can look at when it comes to an unsecured loan facility at an affordable APR. Lloyds, HSBC and RBS are all offering unsecured lending facilities from £1k – £25k to non bank customers. Businesses interested in these facilities can access them via Swoop or book a call with our team to find more details on the facilities.