How to apply for lending

We aim to make lending applications easier and are committed to supporting your business, so you can build a strong case to secure the necessary funds.

Our step-by-step guide takes you through our lending application process.

We offer a complete range of finance options that can be tailored to meet your business's needs. To help you find the right one, go to:

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

Next, take a look at our finance application checklist to make sure you fit all the right criteria to borrow from us.

Choose one of three ways to start your application:

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

Once you've submitted your application, one of our relationship managers will check to ensure they have all the information they need. We will try to give 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 more documents, so it’s worthwhile providing your latest information up front so the application can be processed efficiently
  • Complete background checks on 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 the best one for you
  • Ask for permission to undertake a credit check on your business.

Your relationship manager will arrange a meeting to discuss the application if necessary. Following the application submission, they will complete a credit proposal.

Depending on the amount to be borrowed, 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 but we will keep you informed. Our relationship managers 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.

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

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

If this is the case, we’ll work with your business to strengthen its financial position, and provide support 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.
  • 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 finance, talk to your relationship manager who will let you know about any alternative forms of finance. Or, for more information go to the Better Business Finance website.

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

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Lending support and code

We offer support and guidance on borrowing and follow codes and principles to ensure you’re treated fairly.

Find out moreabout lending support

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Lending appeals

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

Find out more about lending appeals

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Finance selector

A convenient way to help you decide which of our finance options could be right for your business.

Launch selector

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Loan calculator

Calculate your total repayment with our easy-to-use tool.

Launch calculatorto calculate your total repayment