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UK bank lending to small firms rises in second quarter - BoE data

09/03/2015 | 05:23am US/Eastern
The Bank of England is seen through columns in London

The Bank of England said net lending to small businesses by banks and building societies taking part in its Funding for Lending scheme rose to 490 million pounds in the second quarter of 2015.

That compares with 400 million in the same period a year ago, as improving economic conditions encourage smaller firms to borrow and banks to make loans.

The Bank of England launched the scheme in August 2012 as part of government efforts to stimulate the economy, with banks having since drawn down a total of 61.4 billion pounds of funding.

The biggest net lenders to small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) during the period were Lloyds Banking Group (>> Lloyds Banking Group PLC) and "challenger" bank Aldermore (>> Aldermore Group PLC), the data showed.

Net lending to small firms by Lloyds, Britain's biggest retail bank, was 527 million pounds, while net lending by Aldermore totalled 122 million.

The Bank of England said the improvement in net lending to small firms reflected a loosening in credit conditions. The Federation of Small Businesses recently reported that credit availability for small businesses had increased.

The biggest declines in lending to small firms came at Nationwide Building Society (>> Nationwide Building Society) and Royal Bank of Scotland (>> Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). Nationwide's lending to small firms contracted by 279 million pounds, and RBS's lending fell by 266 million.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Steve Slater and David Holmes)

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