An independent review into lending to small businesses has been launched by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), after figures in May revealed that the bank had a potential 20bn that could have been lent to businesses. Lending to businesses fell by £1.6bn in the first quarter of 2013 despite the government’s Funding for Lending scheme, which aimed to boost lending by the banks.The review will examine how RBS makes its decisions on small and medium enterprise (SME) lending, and will take the views of customers, business groups, regulators and the government into consideration. The bank has hired former Bank of England deputy governor Sir Andrew Large and management consultancy Oliver Wyman to carry out the review and look at its lending practices. A new website will be launched to help gather information on SME customers and their experiences of lending by RBS. The bank is hoping that the feedback will help identify steps that it can take to improve its support to SMEs and the economic recovery, while maintaining safe and sound lending practices. Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, called the review a “sensible and welcome step”. He added “In order to improve transparency and trust, it is crucial that all financial institutions pledge to address any barriers – real or perceived – to SME access to capital.”
The review is scheduled to take place over the summer, with the report’s findings and recommendations to be published later this year.The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with business solicitors in Walton on Thames and across the country.