RBS to review business lending

The Royal Bank of Scotland is launching a review of its small business lending after uncovering £20 billion in untapped cash that could be used to support loan-starved companies.

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Cable: RBS needs to focus on small business lending

Commenting on Stephen Hester's departure from RBS last month, the Business Secretary Vince Cable appeared to criticise the taxpayer-owned bank for not doing enough to lend to small and medium firms (SMEs):

He performed a necessary role at a difficult time...RBS needs more of a focus on SME (small and medium enterprise) lending, supporting the economy.

RBS determined to 'play part in securing the recovery'

Chris Sullivan, head of UK corporate banking at RBS, has said the bank is determined to lend to more small businesses:

Demand for lending remains a challenge, but we want to do more than just wait for demand to materialise.

We want to play our part in securing the recovery. If there are loans that we could and should be making, but are not, then that will change.

If there are things we can do better - we will.

– Chris Sullivanhead of UK corporate banking, RBS

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RBS saw lending drop by £1.6 billion in three months

Chancellor George Osborne has made it clear that he expects RBS to increase lending to Britain's small and medium sized businesses.

Here's are some facts on the bank's lending record to date:

  • Net lending fell by £1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2013
  • This is despite it tapping the State's Funding for Lending Scheme for £750 million worth of cheap finance
  • Has a 35% share of the UK SME loans and overdraft market
  • Saw a 20% reduction in borrowing applications from small firms last year

RBS earmarks £20bn for small business lending

Taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is launching a review of its small business lending after uncovering £20 billion in untapped cash that could be used to support loan-starved companies.

RBS has launched a review into its lending practices to small and medium sized firms Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

The group has hired former Bank of England deputy governor Sir Andrew Large and a management consultancy to assess lending practices and standards used by RBS and NatWest for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

It said was making the move because it wanted to play its part in "securing the recovery".

The review follows the launch of a sector-wide probe by the Office of Fair Trading into SME lending following calls for an investigation by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

Following RBS boss Stephen Hester's shock departure announcement, Chancellor George Osborne also made it clear the bank's new chief executive would be expected to increase lending to Britain's small businesses.

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