How to apply for lending

Whether it’s for growth or development, there are many reasons why your business may need finance. We can provide help when you most need it. We’re committed to helping you choose the right banking product, and supporting you throughout the application process.

Read our charter to find out how we're committed to lending to businesses.

Here is a guide on how to apply for lending.

We offer a complete range of business finance options that can be tailored to meet your needs. To help you find the right one, please visit these pages:

To support the application, use our free Sage Planning for Business software to create a business plan.

Choose one of two ways to start your application:

  • Call one of our advisers – contact details are provided with each of the finance options.
  • Fill in our online form to start the process – details are provided with each of the finance options.

One of our business management team will check to ensure they have all the information required once an application has been submitted. We will try to give you a decision as quickly as possible.

During the process of reviewing your application, we will:

  • Ensure we have all the information we need. Sometimes we may need further documents from you, so it’s worthwhile providing your latest information up front (e.g. cashflow forecasts) so your application can be processed efficiently.
  • Complete background checks on you and your business, such as Companies House searches.
  • Assess how suitable and affordable the finance option is, explaining borrowing costs.
  • Explain other types of finance which may be suitable, so you can consider those most appropriate for your business.
  • Request your permission to undertake a credit check on you and your business.
  • Ask for extra information if required.

The business management team will arrange a meeting to discuss your application if necessary. Following the application submission, they will complete a credit proposal.

Depending on the amount you wish to borrow, your business sector and credit history, your application may be referred to our credit sanctioning team. If this happens, our decision may take a little longer. Our business management team can lend up to £500,000 at a local level without referral.

We will meet every reasonable request for finance (whether short-term or long-term) from viable business customers.

When we have made a decision on your application, we will let you know in writing. If your application is successful we’ll provide the appropriate documentation and let you know when and how you will receive your finance.

If this is the case, we’ll work with you to strengthen your financial position and support you for future applications. When applying for finance, your business is in a stronger position if it can demonstrate:

  • A good financial track record (if it's an existing business).
  • Sound management of your business.
  • A business idea expressed in a well-researched, well-presented business plan.
  • Financial controls and expert support.
  • Personal commitment from principal shareholders.
  • Financial security.

If we are unable to provide you with finance, talk to your business management team who will be able to inform you of alternative forms of finance or go to the Better Business Finance website for more information.

If you disagree with a declined application, you can follow the appeals process. This provides details of how and when you can take the matter further.

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Lending support and code

Learn how we can support your business during the lending application to make the process easier.

Find out more about our lending support and code

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Lending appeals

Discover how to take matters further if your lending application is declined.

Find out more about lending appeals

Business ToolBox

Try financial and digital business tools for 30 days with no obligation, including business planning and accountancy software.

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Business credit scoring explained

By understanding Business credit scoring, small business owners can increase the likelihood of future applications being successful.

Lending appeals

Appeals for borrowing. Business finance declined? You can ask for the decision to be reviewed.

Find out more