The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) reached £1.1 billion in loans this week. The scheme announced by Rishi Sunak four weeks ago pledged £330 billion of Government backed loans for businesses struggling due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The results published by UK Finance showed that 28,461 applications had been received and of these, 6,016 had been approved. It also stated that “others are still being processed and are expected to be approved over the coming days”. This means the current approval rate is 21% although this could rise as lenders catch up on the backlog of CBILS applications. If the scheme is to perform in line with usual business lending approval rates, then this should rise significantly. UK Finance has previously reported approval rates of 80% for SME lending (UK Finance Q2 2018 report for SME lending).
Demand for CBILS is set to rise in the coming weeks and months and could be as high as 1.1 million applications. The British Chambers of Commerce found that of the businesses it polled 59% have less than three months of reserves and 19% expect to call upon the CBILS. With 5.8 million small businesses in the UK that could equate to over a million CBILS applications.
We have written previously about how CBILS works and have provided an application checklist in our news article how to apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.
Moneyfacts.co.uk has reviewed each of the lenders offering CBILS as shown on the website of The British Business Bank. There are 32 lenders offering loans under CBILS, another six lenders are included but have either closed to applications - are not active or their status is unclear.
Our review of the 32 active lenders shows that 14 of these are regional lenders, with the majority often social enterprises whose remit is to support business start-ups and business regeneration in specific towns or regions. These lenders have regional restrictions that businesses need to be aware of before they apply.
There are 12 lenders that only accept existing customers for CBILS, including six high street banks: Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Group, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Metro Bank and Santander. The only high street banks operating nationally that accept all customers are Barclays, NatWest and RBS.
The table shows which lenders accept CBILS applications from all customers, only existing customers, if they lend nationally or only regionally and if there are a high street bank.
|Provider||Existing customers only?||All customers can apply?||Regional lending only?||National Lending?||High Street Bank?|
|Arkle Finance Limited||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Art Business Loans||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Askif Inclusive Finance||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Bank of Ireland UK||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Bank of Scotland||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|BCRS Business Loans||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Business Enterprise Fund||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Coventry & Warkwickshire Reinvestment Trust||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Finance for Enterprise||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|GC Business Finance||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Hitachi Capital Plc||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Let's Do Business Group||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Robert Owen Community Banking||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Secure Trust Bank||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
The table above does not include those six lenders whose status in CBILS is either not active, not yet ready or unclear.
There are new lenders joining the scheme and this includes the Co-operative Bank and Starling Bank, the latter of which is new to any type of business lending. It is not known when they will start to accept Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan applications.
Those businesses wanting a loan under CBILS may find these restrictions limit their choice of lenders and researching each one to see if they will accept an application is potentially a confusing and time-consuming task. This is before even providing the evidence needed for an application and the checks required to be approved for a loan.
There are brokers who specialise in business lending that are helping businesses to find a lender that will accept them for a loan under the CBILS scheme.
Our research found the potential for some businesses to be left with a choice of only three lenders under CBILS. For example:
There are 32 active lenders, of which 12 restrict CBILS to existing customers only. If the business is not a customer of those, this leaves 20 active lenders. There are 14 regional lenders, so if the business is not in one of these areas, this leaves seven active lenders. There are three high street lenders then available, if the business does not meet their credit requirements, then the business will have a choice of three lenders remaining. These would be Aldermore, Askif Inclusive Finance (only offer loans of £10,000 to £60,000) and Bank of Ireland.
Moneyfacts lists 25 alternative business lenders, none of which currently participate in CBILS. These lenders could bring much needed diversity to the scheme, by potentially accepting those businesses that are not existing customers of other lenders or that do not meet their minimum requirements for credit.
The use of personal guarantees is commonplace in business lending, as many lenders use this make sure that if a loan defaults they can recover their losses. CBILS does not allow personal guarantees on loans below £250,000 and for loans greater than this there is a cap of 20% that can be recovered from personal assets. Some lenders may be concerned that their own operation is at risk if they accept these terms and/or the actual number of businesses they could accept without these guarantees would be severely limited.
This is part of the reason some people are now calling for the Government backing on CBILS to increase from 80%, in the hope more lenders will join, and those already on the scheme will increase their approval rate and open up to new customers.
Those businesses that can progress a CIBLS application and are approved may also find that they are instead offered a standard loan on the regular commercial terms of the lender. Lenders can do this if they feel the business does not need to make use of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
Find out more about how the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme works and how to apply for a Coronavirus business loan.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.