NatWest has doubled its small firms Growth Fund pot to £6 billion, citing the need to help SMEs to help navigate Brexit disruption.
The bank launched its £3 billion NatWest Growth Fund programme in May 2018, and £2.9 billion of that initial tranche has already been committed — £800 million to green environmentally friendly initiatives.
The additional £3 billion will be available immediately and will help businesses looking to grow and navigate current uncertainty, with a focus on funding for environmentally conscious businesses, NatWest said.
The £6 billion growth funding pot is part of the bank’s overall commercial and business banking arm, which lent over £100 billion in 2018 and recently announced a new accelerator hub in Manchester, bringing the total to a dozen around the UK.
Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, said: “Whatever the circumstances facing businesses throughout the UK, we are passionate about helping them achieve their goals and are flexible in how we do so. The bank is truly national in its approach to helping businesses via our regional accelerator hubs, the work through our regional boards and dedicated teams in every corner of the UK. We recognise that the challenges businesses face evolve all the time, which is why we try to innovate whenever we can.
“We are working every day to look at what businesses need to not just survive, but grow. In many cases this is bespoke funding which is why we are once again expanding our total growth funding pot to £6 billion. However, we have also seen that other support is needed. We have seen great success out of our accelerator hubs and witnessed businesses revolutionise themselves.”
Last month, Barclays announced a £15 billion SME fund to help SMEs negotiate Brexit and beyond, offering loans, mortgages and overdrafts of up to £250,000 in working capital, as well as cash flow funding for growth investments including MBOs and business acquisition.