Lloyds TSB to help pump money into small businesses

Lloyds TSB has promised to pass on in full any further reductions in base rates in 2008 and 2009 to small businesses as part of a six-point charter for SME customers to help them weather the current economic downturn.

It will also maintain overdraft limits and overdraft margins at existing levels for businesses with a turnover of up to £1m.

The bank says it will agree to any reasonable request for short term finance and do what it can to support any viable business through temporary difficulties.

Lloyds TSB Commercial is also extending its use of the Small Firms Loans Guarantee scheme. Since March this year, the Bank has increased its lending under the scheme by 45%.

Lloyds TSB has also expressed its firm interest in the additional funding for small business lending from the European Investment Bank, as well as the various measures announced in the pre-Budget report.

John Maltby, managing director of Lloyds TSB Commercial, says: “This is a charter to inject much needed business confidence. Lloyds TSB is one of the few banks that has been able to continue lending to small businesses through these more difficult times and our lending to SMEs has grown 18% over the past year.

“As the economic environment becomes even more challenging, we’re committed to continuing to support our customers by doing everything possible to ease the pressure small firms are now under. The measures in our new charter announced today take our existing approach a step further and mean that businesses that bank with Lloyds TSB have the best possible support for the challenges to come.”