LONDON, March 16 Lloyds Bank said it
will grow its lending to small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) by
a further 1 billion pounds this year, seeing stronger growth
prospects for smaller businesses as Britain's economic recovery
Lloyds's pledge comes after British politicians launched an
inquiry last month into the lending practices of banks to small
businesses last month. Britain's competition watchdog is also
considering a small business banking probe.
Banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland have been
accused of sucking cash out of viable small businesses while
other major banks have been criticised for not offering enough
credit to SMEs.
Lloyds said the move would help underpin its track record in
SME lending, which has increased against a decline across the
wider banking industry.
"We are now seeing the recovery gathering pace and there are
more reasons for small and medium-sized enterprises to be
optimistic and to start investing for growth," Lloyds's managing
director of SME and mid markets banking, Tim Hinton, said in a
Apart from the growth in lending, it plans to double the
amount of money local bank managers are able to lend without
central approval to 1 million pounds, a policy aimed at ensuring
lending decisions are made more quickly.
Lloyds also intends to increase lending through trade
finance for overseas businesses by 25 percent during 2014.