World Economy

HSBC Sets Aside $12b for SMEs

HSBC Sets Aside $12b for SMEsHSBC Sets Aside $12b for SMEs

Banking giant HSBC has allocated £8b ($12.4b) to lend to small and medium-sized businesses in Britain, the FTSE 100 group said.

The lender said its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) loan offering will see Manchester, Birmingham and Manchester receive at least £400m each, with an additional 40 areas set to receive financial help, ShareCast reported.

The bank said that in a bid to encourage businesses to apply for the loan, it will refund fees on qualifying business loans worth between £1,000 and £300,000 through to the end of July.

“We’re always keen to help out firms that manufacture here, as it’s important to the UK economy,” HSBC’s head of UK commercial banking said.

Small firms have increasingly moved away from high street banks when seeking a loan, leading to a drop in lending to SMEs. In September, figures released by the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers showed lending from brokers to small firms had reached a record high.

HSBC has recently hinted that it might relocate its headquarters to Hong Kong, after falling out with regulators and coming under intense criticism in the press.

Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow warned that the government had to bring “banker bashing” to an end as it ran the risk of driving the lender away from the UK.

They’ve had the introduction of the ring-fence come in; they’ve had the bank levy, they’ve had their senior management basically skewered on the Treasury select committee, which must be very tough,” he was quoted as saying by The Times. “The loyalty to that sort of treatment must be in question.”

HSBC shares were down 0.56% to 637.50p at 09:11 on Monday.