NatWest pledges £5bn to SMEs for coronavirus support

By Aisling Finn on Tuesday 10 March 2020

Alternative Lending

The announcement comes just weeks after the bank rebranded from The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc to Natwest Group plc.

NatWest pledges £5bn to SMEs for coronavirus support
Image source: CEO of NatWest Alison Rose

 

The world economy has been one of the more unexpected casualties of the coronavirus outbreak, yesterday the New York Stock Exchange’s circuit breakers were triggered, pausing operations after its value plummeted immediately after opening.

Similarly, the FTSE 100 dropped up to 8.5 per cent when the market opened yesterday morning. 

So as the country braces for an economic downturn, NatWest has announced it is pledging £5bn in Working Capital Support, an extension of its Growth Funding Package, for SMEs.

The high street bank is offering the funding to help smaller businesses “adapt to the rapidly evolving impacts of the coronavirus to the UK economy.”

The fund will provide SMEs with loan repayment holidays and temporary emergency loans with no fees as well as credit limits ranging from £25,000 to £500,000 to keep SMEs afloat during the disruption.

Alison Rose, CEO NatWest, said: “The ongoing uncertainty that the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses are experiencing is unprecedented even by recent standards. 

“While many of our customers are yet to feel the direct impacts of Coronavirus, I want NatWest to have the right support in place, so we are there to help our SME customers when they need us most,” she added.

The bank is already in contact with many of its smaller business customers who, it says, may potentially be impacted.

Paul Thwaite, CEO Commercial Banking NatWest, said: “The impacts our customers may experience will vary from sector to sector, but we want to be proactive in the way we support them and to use our size and scale, combined with our detailed customer and sectoral knowledge to ensure the UK’s SMEs are supported through the impact of the Coronavirus.”

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