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BBB provides £60m to challenger banks

Tom Belger | 12:44 Thursday 28th September 2017

The British Business Bank has provided £60m of structured capital to UK challenger banks through its commercial arm since launching in 2014.

The economic development bank has published a new report which provides a fresh analysis of the need for greater choice for the UK's smaller businesses looking for finance to grow.

The Benefits of Diverse Finance Markets for Smaller Businesses report looks at how the bank is working to help increase the number of providers and finance options available to smaller businesses across the UK.

Since 2014, the British Business Bank has provided enterprise finance guarantee facilities to seven challenger banks to help them support smaller businesses looking to access finance.

In January, the bank announced that OakNorth would be the first challenger bank to partner with its Help to Grow programme, which helps smaller businesses that are struggling to raise sufficient senior debt to fund growth opportunities.

As well as funding challenger banks, the British Business Bank revealed that it had provided £140m of asset finance via the investment programme operated by its commercial arm British Business Investments.

It has also made awards of £239m to support asset-based finance through its ENABLE programme, while British Business Investments has awarded £287m to nine debt funds.

British Business Investments has also provided £135m to finance providers working with fintech companies, while the bank's Angel CoFund has provided £32m to SMEs.

“The diverse finance needs of our smaller business community are not always reflected in either the provision or take-up of available finance options, with pronounced differences seen across regions both in the supply and awareness of different finance options,” said Keith Morgan, CEO of the British Business Bank.

“As the UK's national economic development bank, we were created to improve finance markets so they better serve smaller businesses across the UK, enabling them to fulfil their growth potential.”

Keith added that the bank was committed to finding ways to support the market in increasing choice of both supplier and product as well as raising small business awareness of the range of finance options available.

“Today's report sets out the benefits and importance of offering our smaller businesses a diverse finance market to support their growth and contribution to the wider economy.

“It again underlines the importance of ensuring smaller businesses are aware of and can access the right kind of finance they need to grow and succeed.”

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