SMEs borrow £18bn via ‘bounce back’ scheme

The UK’s SMEs have borrowed more than £18bn under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) in its first three weeks of operation.

The BBLS was introduced by the government after criticism that the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was not being made accessible to many businesses by the banks administering the scheme.

It offers 100% government-backed loans of up to £50,000 to small businesses, in contrast to CBILS where the government underwrites 80% of the loan. The BBLS has lent £18.5bn to 608,069 small businesses as of 24 May, up from £14.2bn by 17 May.

CBILS, which lends up to £5m, only lent £8.15bn since its launch in March.

Banks have approved about half of loan applications under CBILS so far, compared with 79% for the BBLS.

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