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Bank Bucks Crunch with Increased Lending to Small Business

Further, Barclays annual rate of lending growth to small business increased from 2% to over 5% over the summer, at a high point of concern around the credit crunch (Q2 2008, Q3 2008).

“There has been genuine concern among businesses that lenders are not supporting local businesses, but these figures speak for themselves,” said Steve Cooper, Managing Director of Local Business at Barclays.

“We are supporting businesses in the best way we know how – with money, with services and with skills. We remain open for business, and we have a desire to keep on lending to companies that are a good risk, and that provide a good return to our shareholders.

“Businesses are also meeting us partway – our customers are borrowing prudently and with an eye to the external environment. We’re seeing a significant increase [9%, September 2007 to September 2008] in loans of ten years or more, loans that are the cornerstone of long term investment.”

Notes to editors

Notes to editors The stock of loans was up 7%, September 2007 to September 2008. Successful loan applications remain broadly in line with last year. Barclays offers a comprehensive package of services to small business that addresses the key issues that these customers face. As an example, we have, during the last two months, made it possible for our small business customers to check the credit worthiness of their most important customers or suppliers using Creditfocus. CreditFocus is a new web based service provided to Local Business customers to help them reduce the risk of late payments and bad debt, with elements of the service provided to customers for free. Businesses regularly fail due to late payment of invoices and bad debt, and CreditFocus helps our customers mitigate this risk by providing them with: credit checks on a selection of their customers automatic notification via email if a customer’s credit rating significantly worsens or improves the ability to instruct a leading UK debt recovery solicitor to send letters on their behalf to recover unpaid invoices from bad customers This service helps Local Business customers know how safe it is to do business with new and existing customers, and how likely their customers are to pay on time. It also helps Local Business customers know how much credit they should offer to each of their customers. Barclays has one of the most comprehensive packages of services for small business among high street banks, including: * A named Local Business Manager who will take the time to understand their customers' business needs and help them achieve their business objectives. * A choice of business accounts they can tailor to their needs and giving up to 2 years free banking to start-ups. * Day to day banking support through an award winning team of Business Managers who are available over the phone for everyday and urgent banking needs during the day, at evenings and weekends. * Free consultation with a local accountant, marketing expert and solicitor to advise on topics such as the best legal status, how to advertise or draw supply contracts. * A range of nationwide business seminars and workshops to help network and gain practical tips on relevant challenges such as marketing, trading online or how to make more profit. * Unique market leading business management software developed to help customers do their accounts and admin quickly and efficiently, backup their business data securely, avoid late payment and bad debt.