Aldermore’s Mark Stephens welcomes Funding for Lending shift towards SME lending

POSTED: 1st December 2013
IN: General

Aldermore's Deputy CEO Mark Stephens comments on why yesterday's announcement on changes to the Funding for Lending Scheme represents a positive step to support Britain's small business community.

"As a bank with a particular focus on SMEs, we are delighted that the scheme will be refocusing on business lending in 2014, as many small businesses in particular are still being turned away for finance," reports Stephens.

Small businesses and SME support bodies on Twitter reacted with similar enthusiasm to the news.

Revisions to the FLS, due to take effect from February 2014, will see the Bank of England remove the option for banks to borrow credit at a cheaper rate for the purpose of mortgage lending, placing greater emphasis on encouraging lending to SMEs.

This decision follows news of strong growth in the housing market, with the Bank of England reporting last week that mortgage approvals rose to 67,701 in October, the highest recorded rate since 2008.

As BoE Governor, Mark Carney explains: "The changes announced today refocus the FLS where it is most needed: to underpin the supply of credit to small businesses over the next year, without providing further broad support to household lending that is no longer needed."

Aldermore's Mark Stephens agreed with the Governor's statement, affirming, "The refocusing away from mortgage lending is a sign of the recent turnaround in the fortunes of the housing market."

Stephens also praised the scheme for the effect it has had to date on re-stimulating the British economy, commenting: "The Funding for Lending Scheme has been a resounding success, increasing access to financing for homeowners and businesses across the UK.

Aldermore has been a keen participant in the scheme and has seen first-hand the impact it has had on lending to consumers and businesses alike." Moving forward under the re-formulated scheme, Aldermore will be looking to build on these foundations, continuing to improve access to finance for the nation's vital small business sector.

Despite this SME focus, Stephens is keen to underline that even without the FLS, the financial needs of homebuyers will still be heard, adding, "Aldermore will continue to support both aspiring and existing homeowners going forward."

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