TSB issues lending pledge to hard-pressed small firms
TSB is hoping other banks follow its example (pic: Terry Murden)
TSB is promising protection for small business owners with six commitments to help borrowers facing financial difficulty.
The bank’s SME Lending Pledge is a response to views expressed by business borrowers, alongside industry-wide calls for sufficient safety measures for struggling businesses. It picks up on some of the key issues that have impacted customer trust in the past decade.
In a move that aims to safeguard these businesses against unfair treatment and charges, the lender becomes one of the first high-street banks to give SMEs assurances on lending.
Developed with input from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking, the SME Alliance and the Federation of Small Businesses, the Lending Pledge commits that TSB will:
- Be fair and transparent in everything we do, keeping the customer informed as to the course of action we are taking and why.
- Give customers reasonable time to return their business to health.
- Not raise loan margins on existing facilities if a business enters into financial difficulty.
- Not default a business if it is up-to-date on its loan payments, but a valuation change impacts a covenant.
- Not demand full repayment or remove an overdraft unless a business has breached our terms of lending.
- Not run their business support unit as a profit centre, and will not incentivise their Partners for additional income earnt on accounts in business support.
On the back of launching these pledges, TSB intends to actively campaign for the need for greater protection to be put in place for business borrowers across the industry.
Carol Anderson, TSB’s Scotland branch distribution director, said: “Small businesses need firm commitments to ensure they get fair treatment when they need it most. That is why we are offering a new Lending Pledge.
“The issues of the last decade have shown there is a need for greater protections for business borrowers, and we hope that the rest of the business banking industry will follow suit.”
Martin Whitfield MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Fair Business Banking, added: “Not only do SMEs face an uncertain economic environment, but there is often a lack of awareness that businesses have few protections if they get into financial difficulty. These pledges provide clarity and a firm commitment to support SMEs in Scotland.”