JustUs and Assetz Capital are among the peer-to-peer lenders that have applied to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS).
The government is backing emergency loans to help struggling businesses amid the pandemic, channelled through the British Business Bank (BBB), the state development lender.
The BBB, in turn, will provide funds to accredited lenders. Application forms to become an accredited lender for the government-backed emergency business loans were updated earlier this week, with expanded eligibility criteria.
The previous forms and eligibility criteria was based on the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, which explicitly excluded P2P lenders.
The current documents do not mention this exclusion and forms have now been sent out to a wider selection of lenders, including P2P platforms.
Lee Birkett, founder of JustUs, said P2P lenders could provide much-needed funding to businesses faster than banks.
“This is the birth of P2P as a genuine capital flow mechanism,” he said.
Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz Capital, said the business lender has applied to use the scheme and said it already has confirmation from two banks who intend to channel funds through it.
“The application is in progress and substantial funding lines have been secured to back that lending and support the economy,” he said.
As Peer2Peer Finance News exclusively reported last week, industry sources had privately criticised the BBB for the slow pace of accreditation for new lenders.
A BBB spokesperson said that accrediting new lenders was its immediate next priority, adding that the bank has put in place additional resources to assist with processing applications as quickly as possible.