Charter vows to help 100,000 start-ups get off the ground
Lloyds Banking Group has announced a series of new pledges to help businesses export for the first time, improve their digital skills and fulfil their growth ambitions.
Its new commitments form part of the Group’s 2017 Business Charter, which sets out what the Group intends to do for all businesses – from start-ups to large corporates.
For the second year in a row, the Charter includes a promise to help 5,000 new exporters which the Group says is part of its wider commitment to help 25,000 businesses trade overseas for the first time by 2020 – also contributing towards the UK Government’s goal of helping 100,000 businesses start trading overseas as part of its Exporting is GREAT campaign by the end of the decade.
The Group says its drive to support exporters is underpinned by its new International Trade Portal, which launched late last year and helps businesses to identify and secure overseas trade opportunities, as well as providing access to 20,000 trade shows, 25,000 market reports, 30,000 suppliers, and 110,000 importers and live tenders.
The 2017 Charter also includes pledges to help 100,000 start ups to get off the ground; boost the digital skills of 50,000 small businesses and charities through a nationwide programme of events and online support, and help a further 1,000 businesses scale up, to reach £1 million turnover within the next three years.
Tim Hinton, Managing Director, Mid Markets & SME Banking, said: “In the current climate, it is more important than ever that businesses are equipped to grow and compete on the global stage.
“These new commitments build on our recently launched Helping Britain Prosper Plan and set out the support that we will provide to help businesses start up, expand and trade overseas.”
Jo Harris, Managing Director, Retail Business Banking, added: “We are committed to helping businesses thrive, whether they are start-ups, established companies or companies looking to expand and grow.
“These pledges are part of our ongoing commitment to support entrepreneurship in the UK. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and, by helping them prosper, we’re Helping Britain Prosper.”
Read the full range of pledges in the Lloyds Banking Group 2017 Business Charter:
Getting start-ups off the ground
We will continue to support fledgling businesses and commit to helping 100,000 start-ups get off the ground in 2017.
We are committed to helping 1,000 start-ups become £1m turnover businesses over the next three years.
We will increase the amount of net lending to SMEs and Mid Market companies by £2 billion during 2017.
We have a wide range of SME Managers across the business with the authority to approve lending up to £1 million. For our Mid Market clients, we also operate a regional credit model and offer the opportunity to meet with one of our dedicated Credit Analysts as part of our transparent and open process.
Increasing digital skills
We commit to helping 50,000 small businesses and charities to increase their digital skills in 2017.
Investing in digital
In 2017, we will support a further 10,000 clients to move onto Commercial Banking Online. We now have over 2,000 clients benefitting from our brand new Commercial Banking Online platform. Commercial Banking Online gives simple and customisable 24/7 access to accounts, payments and bespoke reporting, across a range of currencies.
Maximising working capital
We will launch a new Lloyds Bank Working Capital Index which will provide a unique barometer of the working capital pressures on British businesses and will allow companies to benchmark themselves. We will also help Mid Market and SME businesses gain a deeper understanding of their working capital cycles – so they can release tied-up cash, fund growth and reach their full potential – by using our Working Capital Management digital tools to help review and optimise their own companies.
We will help 5,000 businesses to start exporting their products and services for the first time in 2017, working in partnership with DIT, UK Export Finance and The British Business Bank. This will help contribute towards the Government’s target to help 100,000 first-time exporters by 2020.
Through our International Trade Portal, we will give businesses access to 20,000 trade shows, 25,000 market reports, 30,000 suppliers, 110,000 importers, and live tenders. We will also help our customers understand the opportunities and risks as they explore international trade.
Ensuring fair lending decisions
We are committed to treating all lending applications fairly and communicating our decisions transparently. Under the Appeals Process we commit to making a decision within 30 calendar days and, under our Appeals Charter, within 15 working days in at least 90% of cases. Where we are unable to lend to a customer, under the Declined Lending Referral Scheme we will help direct them to other potential lenders if they want us to do so.
We will support new and established SMEs, including community and social enterprises, through our network of over 450 enterprise mentors across Britain, trained through the Business Finance Taskforce accredited scheme. Since 2011, 741 Lloyds Bank mentors have mentored 1,380 businesses.
We will continue to work with customers whose businesses are in difficulty to bring them back to financial health. In 2016 we helped nearly 650 businesses back onto a sounder financial footing, and protected over 34,000 jobs.
In 2017, we will invest £1bn in the UK manufacturing sector through financial support.
We will support training of over 1,000 apprentices, graduates and engineers by 2020 as a result of our £5m investment at the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre at the MTC in Coventry.
We will also introduce our manufacturing clients to the Manufacturing Technology Centre and will work with them to identify opportunities for cost savings and improved productivity.
Supporting UK infrastructure
In 2017 we will support projects in the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan to the value of £10bn.
Protecting against fraud
We will help our 1,000,000 small business customers to protect themselves from the risks of financial fraud. We will raise awareness through our work with Financial Fraud Action UK to promote their ‘Take Five’ campaign and equip clients with the most up-to-date fraud prevention guidance and the tools they need to spot emerging threats.
Supporting a low carbon economy
We will support the transition to a low carbon economy. In 2017 we will fund 2 million square feet of commercial real estate space to become more energy efficient, and 10 million square feet by 2020.
Scottish Widows will support 2,000 of our existing corporate pension customers through their first-time auto enrolment staging during 2017. In addition, we will roll out our new digital service for Corporate pension employers, significantly reducing processing times for monthly scheme management and significantly improving customer engagement – this will reach over 12,000 employers and 1.5m employees.
Accessing our Group
We will provide you with easy access to all of our Group’s offerings in support of your business and personal needs including Retail Banking, Scottish Widows, Lex Autolease, Black Horse Finance and LDC.