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British Business Bank leaps from £8bn to £89bn of business lending in 12 months

Supporting 1.7m companies while still turning a whopping 14.6 per cent return on taxpayer money.

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Catherine Lewis La Torre/British Business Bank.

After a year of acting as the distributor for the Government’s support packages for UK businesses, the British Business Bank today revealed the impact of this transformation.

According to the British Business Bank’s 2021 annual report, today, the Bank is managing over £89bn worth of financial support across some 1.7m UK businesses.

That’s a phenomenal increase on the £8bn it managed in March 2020. It is almost entirely related to programmes like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which the Bank administered.

“Throughout 2020/21, in response to the pandemic the British Business Bank performed a role vital to the UK government, finance markets and the economy as a whole,” said the Bank’s CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre.

Amazingly the Bank also achieved an adjusted return on its lending of 14.6 per cent, smashing the 0.1 per cent it typically aims for.

“We look forward to using our unique position in the market to support businesses further as they recover and return to growth once more, thereby rebuilding the foundations of the UK’s future prosperity,” La Torre added.

From the Bank’s core programmes, which account for £8.5bn of its lending, was largely (94.5 per cent) distributed through smaller or alternative lenders and nearly a billion pounds (£943m) was deployed outside of London, above the Bank’s target of £868m.

Going forward La Torre says the Bank’s mission is being revised to include the Government’s commitment to net zero, with the new mission of driving “sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses.”

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chair of the British Business Bank, explained the organisation’s goal now is to support businesses during the pandemic recovery and beyond: “We are emerging from the pandemic more resilient and capable than ever, ready and willing to help more UK businesses to prosper and grow sustainably.”

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