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Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme opens applications for new lenders

But not peer-to-peer lenders.

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In the wake of pressure from alternative lenders and the fintech community, the British Business Bank yesterday announced the opening of applications to join the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Marketplace or peer-to-peer lenders are still excluded from the process however, much to the dismay of the industry.

“Presently, we are experiencing considerable interest from lenders, seeking information on accreditation to the CBIL Scheme,” the British Business Bank wrote. 

“Our priority, at this stage, is to implement the scheme through existing Enterprise Finance Guarantee accredited lenders. We will aim to resume the consideration of new applicants and respond to Expressions of Interest as soon as we are able to.”

Oliver Prill, CEO of Tide, who was one of the earliest voices calling for the scheme to be opened up celebrated the news.

“We are delighted that the British Business Bank (BBB) has listened to the fintech sector, including Tide, and opened up its accreditation process,” wrote Prill.

“Considering the overwhelming interest lenders have had since the scheme opened yesterday (Monday 23 March), it’s important new lenders are on-boarded quickly to deal with the demand. Tide is still yet to receive a response to our registration of interest.”

“There is a concern that the BBB is very stretched and so we urgently call on the government to ensure that it is adequately resourced and that management is setting the right priorities.”

Clearly others in the industry, like the Association of Alternative Business Finance (AABF), still want more to change, in particular arguing CBILS should be opened up to all lenders including those from the peer-to-peer sector.

“Failure to extend the new Guaranteed Loan Scheme to the very lenders who have backed hundreds of thousands of businesses that the high street banks have rejected will result in the those businesses not now being supported with their urgent cashflow requirements, with the result that many will fail,” wrote AABF chairman John Davies yesterday.

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