BoE's Bailey tells banks to "put their back into it" on COVID-19 loans

LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey called on Britain’s banks to speed up the pace of getting state-backed loans to companies that are struggling to survive the coronavirus crisis, saying they must “put their back into it and get on with it.”

Bailey said banks had to address the “serious strain” on their ability to process a surge in demand for credit and he suggested they were sticking to risk assessment processes that were too slow.

“Notwithstanding the stress that we’re all operating under in terms of the current working environment, they have got to put their backs into it and get on with it, frankly,” he told reporters on Friday.

Bailey said a 35% fall in Britain’s economic output in the second quarter of 2020, as laid out in a scenario by the country’s budget forecasters, was “not implausible” and added that early signs suggested “a big drop off in activity”.

He also said global policymakers who took part in meetings organised by the International Monetary Fund this week were determined to do what was needed to help their economies through the crisis.

“My conclusion from this week is there is an awful lot of common commitment to do what needs to be done,” he said. (Reporting by William Schomberg Editing by David Milliken)