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British Business Bank’s results show £12.2bn of financing

“We are ready and prepared to play whatever role is required to support UK smaller businesses,” the Bank’s CEO said.

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Catherine Lewis La Torre/British Business Bank.

With a backdrop of increasing economic turmoil, sterling plummeting and fiscal uncertainty, all in a ‘post-Covid’ landscape, it is looking set to be another tough year for small businesses.

In its latest annual report, the British Business Bank has revealed it now supports more than 96,000 smaller businesses with £12.2bn of finance through its core programmes.

As part of its efforts to help create a more diverse finance market for smaller business, 98.4 per cent of the bank’s finance was provided outside of the ‘Big Five’ banks.

To help reduce regional imbalances the bank is now supporting almost 83,000 business outside of London with £900m of finance.

“We have increased our impact and market reach to smaller businesses across the UK’s regions and Nations and designed innovative programmes while at the same time generating an attractive return on capital employed,” British Business Bank CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre said.

The bank achieved an adjusted return of 18.2 per cent, which it said ‘significantly exceeded’ its target.

“Despite this success over the last financial year, we are aware that areas of economic and geopolitical uncertainty remain,” she added.

“The serious headwinds that the economy is encountering make a national economic development bank an invaluable strategic asset, and we are ready and prepared to play whatever role is required to support UK smaller businesses.” 

In the bank’s regional angels programme, six new commitments totalling £45m have been made to “reduce regional imbalances” in access to seed and early-stage equity finances for smaller businesses.

Its start up loans programme has been allocated another three yeras of funding, which will deliver around 11,000 loans.

British Business Bank chair Lord Smith of Kelvin said the bank’s flexibility has meant that it can adapt to the economic circumstances, standing “ready to do what is needed in both good times and bad.” 

“We know that things remain tough for many smaller businesses as they work to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic so the importance of both financial and non-financial support for smaller businesses should not be underestimated,” he added.

“Supporting smaller businesses in challenging and uncertain times is absolutely what the British Business Bank is for.”

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