SME Charter - Our commitment to supporting UK business
Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, as part of Lloyds Banking Group, has further underlined its support for British businesses with a new Charter for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, building on the commitments first set out in November 2009.
Our commitments for 2013 are intended to help stimulate demand and boost access to finance for SMEs; assure Lloyds Bank customers of clear and fair terms; encourage enterprise; and provide guidance to help businesses grow successfully.
The pledges we have made are targeted at business customers with a turnover up to £25 million:- small and medium sized businesses whose growth and prosperity is so fundamental to our chances of a full and lasting economic recovery.
Measures which will help support people starting and growing businesses and in turn help support the economy:
- We will help 100,000 new businesses to start up, by providing the necessary funding and support, whatever their sectors and wherever they are based in Great Britain.
- We will support and encourage the idea of enterprise as a career, in particular through our Enterprise Awards, which help provide funding and mentoring to the best of Britain’s student and graduate businesses.
- We will expand our highly successful mentoring network by recruiting and training more of our people so that by the end of 2013 we have at least 400 business mentors in place across the country. We will also continue to develop our export mentoring scheme in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and the Manufacturing Technologies Association.
- We will deliver a programme of more than 200 customer events - visiting the communities in which our businesses customers are based, in order to speak about the issues that matter to them.
- We will make digitalisation an absolute priority. This means making further improvements to the services we offer and helping our business customers make the most of digital opportunities. Our partnership with Go ON UK, in which we have joined forces with a number of other UK businesses and organisations, aims to help develop the digital skills of the nation and its businesses
- We will help customers understand the value of a digital presence to their business.
- We will enhance our own online content to provide business customers with news and information on key issues.
- We will introduce further improvements to our online banking offer enabling business customers to benefit from a growing range of swift, simple, cost-efficient transactions.
Access to Finance
Commitments building on the Group's growing lending to SMEs, which aim to boost confidence:
- We will deliver net lending that is positive and ahead of the industry as a whole.
- We will provide £1bn in new lending to SMEs and larger corporates in the manufacturing sector.
- We will hold our commitment to giving relationship managers the ability to make their own lending decisions, including the ability to lend up to £500,000 at a local level.
- We will make customers aware of the full range of financial products and services available to them including asset-based lending and we will guide customers to other sources of finance where appropriate.
- We will meet every reasonable request from viable business customers.
- We will hold our commitment to giving customers the right to appeal where a lending decision has been declined. We will respond to 90 per cent of appeals with a decision, within 15 working days.
- We will do everything possible to support business customers that are facing financial difficulties through our customer support specialists. We will seek to turnaround as many of these cases as we can, aiming to achieve a minimum success rate of 70 per cent.
Clear and Fair Pricing
Pledges to help ensure firms have clear information and certainty about the finance they receive:
- As part of our participation in the Funding for Lending Scheme, we will continue to offer interest rate reductions of 1% on all approved business loan, commercial mortgage and hire purchase applications for the whole life of these loans. We will provide at least £5bn of lending under this scheme in 2013 as term loans and hire purchase.
- All our fees will be competitively priced and arrangement fees on loans and overdrafts will not be greater than 1.5 per cent of the overall value of the facility. As in 2007, to cover our administration costs for smaller facilities, there will be a minimum scale charge of between £100 and £250.
- We will continue to empower customers by developing products with a transparent and flexible pricing structure such as Lloyds Bank’s Monthly PricePlan tariff for business current accounts.
- We will dedicate 20,000 hours of staff time within our Commercial Banking division to help businesses grow in their communities.
- We will support more than 400 social enterprises by funding training through our partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. We will also provide them with start-up or scale-up grants of up to £15,000 and mentoring support.
- We will continue to help customers identify and secure new business opportunities through a range of activities.
- We will continue to promote understanding of changing regulations in areas such as employment law and carbon reduction.
- We will help businesses adopt a sustainable business model enhances their ability to tender for contracts and benefit from supply chain opportunities.
- Export opportunities and enhancing digital capability are further examples of where we will support businesses with information provision and networking events.
- We will help businesses across the UK build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.