United Kingdom

Small lenders 'kept in dark' over lifeline loan scheme

The boss of one of Britain's challenger banks has hit out at the Treasury for failing to include smaller lenders when it was setting up its lifeline loan scheme for small businesses. 

The chief executive, who wanted to stay anonymous, claimed mid-tier banks were kept in the dark when the Treasury and the British Business Bank hastily set up the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Set in stone: A Treasury spokesman said all lenders are welcome to apply to be accredited to the scheme and they recognise the 'vital role challenger banks play'

If these lenders, such as TSB, Metro Bank and Starling, had known the details in advance, they would have been able to avoid some of the issues that have beset the programme, the bank boss added. 

The Bounce Back scheme was set up by the Treasury to provide loans of up to £50,000 for small companies which were struggling to make it through the pandemic. 

The chief executive told the Mail: 'They didn't tell us anything – we found out about Bounce Back on the day that it launched.' 

A HM Treasury spokesman said all lenders are welcome to apply to be accredited to the scheme and they recognise the 'vital role challenger banks play'. 

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