Barclays has become the first bank to take the unique step forward in actively supporting its business customers by 'pre-approving' overdraft facilities and loans, which help them to make business decisions in the knowledge that funding is available if they need it.
Under the new drive:
• From the middle of October qualifying customers* who call Barclays about new lending will be given instant approval. Customers relationship managers will be able to offer the service from November.
• From early next year most business customers who use online banking will be able to see how much they've been pre-approved to borrow and get a decision within minutes.
The new service is designed to help businesses manage cash-flow issues which are largely recognised as one of the primary reasons behind the collapse of small businesses in the UK.
Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays Business Banking said:
"We know that cash-flow can be a big problem for growing businesses and one of the biggest headaches is winning a big pitch or order, but having no certainty on whether you can finance that growth.
"With this new initiative our business customers will know that at the moment they need to borrow, the investment is there to support them.
"We recognise that not every small business wants debt or to increase the existing facilities. We want to lend the right type of finance, whether that's an extended overdraft, long term finance, or looking at wider forms of equity funding. Overall we think instant lending can deliver a huge shot in the arm for SME's across the country and for our economy too."
* These changes will apply to sixty-three per cent (300,000 customers) of Barclays business customers which have a turnover of more than £10,000 and 12 months history, with the average limit being £15,500. Barclays will also consider all other customers for responsible lending and welcomes anyone who would like to discuss lending options to talk to us. , but currently the bank does not have the detailed information required from the customer in order to make an instant decision.