Lloyds vows to target £12bn loans

Lloyds banking GroupLloyds Banking Group has vowed to step up lending to Britain's small and medium-sized businesses by targeting at least £12 billion of loans next year.

The funding will help businesses with a turnover of under £15 million and will be free of caps and quotas, the state-backed bank said.

Under the Government's Project Merlin accord, which is targeting £76 billion of loans by the big five banks this year, Lloyds has lent £9.6 billion to small and medium sized (SME) firms in the first nine months of the year.

The bank also pledged that its measure of net lending - the difference between lending drawn and lending repaid - will remain positive despite the current trend for businesses to repay more than they are borrowing.

Since Lloyds first published its SME charter in 2010, it has supported more than 200,000 start-up firms and held more than 1,000 events designed to help businesses get advice on relevant industry issues.

Lloyds director John Maltby said: "Times have been tough for Britain's small firms, and demand has continued to weaken. But our commitment is unequivocal and we want them to know that, as and when they need to borrow, we are ready and waiting to lend."

© 2011 Press Association
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