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Scottish SMEs given lending war chest

HSBC’s lending fund has confirmed its largest ever support package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Scotland.

In a bid to meet growing SME demand across the country, HSBC has expanded its lending fund by £50m on last year to £450m. The bank said it represented a “significant increase” and included a free banking offer of up to 18 months for business start-ups north of the border and 12 months for switchers.

The package is geared to helping smaller firms bank more cheaply and efficiently. Other benefits included within the package is an online tool, offering potential new customers a credit decision in principle for loans of up to £30,000 in under two minutes and a free text alert service for informal overdrafts.

Susan Rowland, head of business banking in Scotland, HSBC, said: “We want to be the bank of choice for Scottish SMEs, reinforced through our desire to lend more to local businesses, by committing the funds to do so, and by making banking easier and cheaper to help our customers grow.

“There is a strong desire from ambitious local SMEs to grow their businesses and we are responding by ensuring HSBC is providing the funds they need to realise these ambitions.”

Anna Soubry, small business minister, welcomed the plans to provide greater access to finance to underpin the growth of the small business community that remains such an important backbone of the UK economy.

“We have a record number of small businesses driving our growing economy and while the picture is improving, access to finance remains an issue for many of them,” said Soubry.

“It’s absolutely right that banks such as HSBC continue to develop their support for smaller businesses.

“I also want to see more of these businesses taking advantage of what’s on offer, both from banks and alternative lenders, to help them grow, invest and create jobs for people.”

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