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CBILS: approvals increasing, businesses encouraged to apply

24 April 2020: approvals for the government’s emergency loan scheme for small and medium-sized businesses are increasing at a much faster rate than applications, according to the latest industry figures.

Data from industry group UK Finance provided good news for beleaguered businesses on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), as application approvals increased from 21% to 46%.

According to the UK Finance figures, lenders have received more than 36,000 completed applications so far, 16,624 of which have been approved to date, while others are still being processed and may be approved over the coming days. Overall, the banking and finance sector has now lent more than £2.8bn to SMEs so far through the coronavirus crisis.

There are now 48 accredited lenders businesses can choose from. Despite calls from the Treasury Select Committee and the Federation of Small Businesses, statistics have not been published on a bank-by-bank basis. 

Commenting on the figures Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said: “The banking and finance sector understands the critical role we have in helping businesses through these tough times.

“This lending forms part of a broad package of support provided to SMEs including additional loans, capital repayment holidays, extended overdrafts and asset-based finance,” continued Jones.

There are not currently statistics available on uptake of the government’s sister scheme for large businesses, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruptions Loan Scheme) CLBILS. 

While banks have increased staff available to handle applications, industry experts have reminded potential applicants that the quickest way to apply remains online. 

Firms looking at whether to apply to the scheme are advised to do some groundwork in advance to understand what might be needed, as this will vary by lender.  

ICAEW’s guidance on CBILS and CLBILS applications, including some of the common requirements that businesses should have available can be found here.