NatWest-backed Esme hits £60m lending milestone

By Roger Baird on Tuesday 9 July 2019

Alternative Lending

The small business lender unit said its loans have leapt 20 per cent since the end of April.

NatWest-backed Esme hits £60m lending milestone
Image source: Company supplied

Esme Loans said it has hit over £60m of lending to UK small businesses just two years after its launch.

The NatWest-owned unit, founded in 2017, said its loans over the last few months have jumped 20 per cent since it hit its £50m milestone at the end of April.

The digital lender, which provides unsecured business loans between £10,000 and £150,000 over one to five years, said its lending is made up of loans to a broad range of sectors, including wholesale retail, support services and manufacturing. 

It adds its paperless application can be completed in 10 minutes and has no hidden costs and no early repayment fees. 


Scaling the business

The business said its “sights are firmly set on scaling its business”, adding it now lends over three times more a month compared to the same time last year.

Esme chief executive Richard Kerton (pictured) said: “Small and medium-sized enterprises want to be able to access loans faster, without the hassle of lengthy application forms. We’ve listened, and our fully digital offering means UK scale-ups can rapidly access the funding they need to grow and scale. We are proud to enable UK businesses and are ready to lend as we look forward to helping many more in the future.”

In March, the unit struck a deal with Microsoft that will allow the business loans platform to use artificial intelligence to speed up customer applications.  

Esme said the US tech giant will build a cloud-based data warehouse and provide AI chatbots to answer common customer questions during the application process.

The alternative lender said the joint service with Microsoft will allow it to “make faster and better-targeted lending decisions and to provide automated service assisted by artificial intelligence”.

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