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SME growth charter

We have made a new set of pledges to help support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout the coming year, in our latest SME charter.

The UK’s five million SMEs are the bedrock of our economy and it is their confidence and growth that will underpin the UK economy. The new charter is focused on helping SMEs seize opportunities for growth, as part of the Group’s aim of helping Britain prosper.

We want to ensure that the terms on which we lend to our SME customers are fair and clearly understood; that they have access to affordable finance; and that we are providing the right support to help these businesses grow.

Our commitments to all of our SME customers for the year ahead, under the Lloyds Banking Group's SME Charter, are:

  • Supporting new exporters: We will help 5,000 businesses to start exporting their products and services for the first time in 2016. This will help contribute towards UKTI’s target to help 100,000 first time exporters by 2020.
  • Growing SME lending: We will increase our net lending to SMEs by more than £1 billion during 2016, building on our six years of consistent lending growth, during a time when across the industry, lending has declined.
  • Local lending: We will expand the range of managers across the business with the authority to approve lending. Our most senior managers can renew loans of up to £1 million and to approve new lending of up to £500,000 at their own discretion. Lloyds Bank remains one of the only banks that gives local discretion to its managers and the policy continues to play a crucial role in delivering a fast local service and growing the bank's lending across the UK.
  • Switching: We have pledged to contribute to the proposed £5 million ‘SME Innovation Challenge Prize’ to stimulate the development of new comparison services and websites for small businesses. This will help small businesses to compare and switch banks, improve competitiveness and transparency in the SME banking market, and ensure better choice and outcomes for customers.
  • Responding fast to appeals: We will respond to appeals on lending decisions faster than the industry as a whole and we will provide goodwill payments for any cases overturned. We commit to looking at 90% of appeals cases within 15 working days and have led the industry in our approach to appeals.
  • Growth: We will support 1,000 start-ups in 2016 to mature into established £1m businesses within three years.
  • Getting Start-ups off the ground:We will help a further 100,000 start-ups get off the ground, as part of our commitment to encourage enterprise across the UK.
  • Investing in digital: We continue to invest in our digital capability to help simplify our products and services for small businesses. We are piloting a new online banking platform, Commercial Banking Online, which will enable businesses to carry out their day-to-day transactions faster and more simply. We are using digital technology to significantly reduce the time it takes to open a new bank account and simplify the process. We are working with a number of partners including the Tinder Foundation, Go ON UK and the Government to improve digital skills for individuals, small businesses and charities.
  • Mentoring: We will support new and established SMEs, including community and social enterprises, through our network of over 400 enterprise mentors across Britain, trained through the Business Finance Taskforce accredited scheme.
  • Business turnaround: We will continue to work with customers whose businesses are in difficulty to bring them back to financial health. In 2015 we helped more than 1500 businesses on to a sounder financial footing and protected over 28,000 jobs.
  • Base rates: We will raise awareness with SMEs of potential rate movements and help assess the impact it could have on their business, utilising a variety of channels with messaging through the Lloyds Bank website, online banking and telephony systems. A self-service tool will be also be provided allowing clients to assess the impact a rate change would have on their monthly loan repayments.
  • Helping businesses protect against fraud: We will support our clients with a programme of activities to build awareness and knowledge so they can take proactive steps to protect themselves against the threat of Fraud. This will include quarterly webinars, hosted in partnership with the City of London Police and Get Safe Online, highlighting the risks and providing practical advice regarding prevention, as well as issuing Fraud Brochures to existing and new clients and offering additional advice and support at local events, tailored to meet client needs.
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Lloyds Bank plc Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Telephone: 020 7626 1500.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278.

Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.