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Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 14/05/2020
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Ten new lenders have been added to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) bringing hope to those businesses that have been unsuccessful so far in getting finance from the scheme.

New lenders should help to improve acceptance rates

It is hoped these new lenders will help to increase the speed and acceptance rate of CBILS loans to SMEs. Latest data from UK Finance shows the current acceptance rate for CBILS is 54%, this is an improvement from 21% in mid-April, but below the usual sector average for SME lending of 80% (UK Finance Q2 SME Lending Report). The scheme has lent £5.5 billion so far to businesses, but there are many more still in need of business loans to support their cashflow during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our previous research on 14 April identified that many businesses would be left with only a handful of providers to choose from due to lenders’ existing customer and regional lending restrictions. We identified an urgent need for more alternative lenders to join the scheme and this message appears to have been heard as many of the new lenders added are from this part of the lending sector.

Read more about how CBILS works in our guide.

Some light ahead for small businesses needing a CBILS loan

However, there is some hope ahead for those business that have struggled to find a lender or those that have may have been rejected by their bank for a CBILS loan. Some of the new lenders to be accredited to the scheme will be accepting applications from all businesses and not applying existing customer restrictions. Funding Circle and White Oak are already open to applications, while Fleximise and Capital on Tap are still in preparations but expected to be ready in a matter of weeks for applications.

The advantage of these types of lenders joining CBILS is their speed to process applications and to make lending decisions. These lenders are also more likely to consider those applications that a high street bank might decline. David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap comments:
“It is greatly important to us to ensure the application process and results are delivered as quickly as possible, knowing how crucial this is to the survival of small businesses. We aim to continue our fast and efficient processing of applications that we have done as a business on a day-to-day basis.’
‘We are primarily targeting those smaller businesses - from beauty salons, family-run companies, small agencies - those who have struggled the most with accessing funds so far during this pandemic. We hope that as an accredited lender, we will be able to help protect the small business economy in the UK’

The prestigious bank, Investec Bank is also offering loans under CBILS and while it is not yet open for applications, it will be accepting new clients.

How can businesses maximise their chances of being accepted for CBILS?

While businesses can apply directly for a loan under CBILS, they may find a business loans broker can make this process easier and increase their chances of approval more quickly. This is because of the 59 lenders listed on the British Business Bank website that offer loans under CBILS, some of these are not yet active and others will have restrictions on the applications they will accept. A loans broker will know this information and will have insight as to the types of lending different lenders are most likely to agree.


How much can businesses borrow under CBILS?

Businesses can apply for CBILS loans of between £50,001 up to a maximum of £5 million. Businesses also have a maximum limit of 25% of their turnover or double their annual salary bill.



What are the key features of CBILS?

CBILs includes a range of lending including loans, asset finance, invoice finance and business overdrafts. There are terms available of between one to six years and there are no payments required or interest costs applied to the loan in the first 12 months. In some cases, loans may have early repayment charges.

CBILS eligibility requirements

Businesses must be based in the UK and have a turnover of no more than £45 million. The business will need to have been viable prior to the pandemic and to self-certify they have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus. Insurers, public bodies, banks, further education and state funded schools are excluded from the scheme.


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