The British Business Bank (BBB) has approved four new lenders for accreditation under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), but is yet to approve any peer-to-peer platforms.
The government-owned bank has approved the Co-operative Bank, Cynergy Bank, OakNorth Bank and Starling Bank.
These four lenders can now put in place the operations required to start lending under the scheme and will confirm shortly the dates from which they will be ready to start receiving CBILS applications.
CBILS is an emergency measure announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, giving government-backed loans to small firms to help them survive the pandemic.
However, as Peer2Peer Finance News previously reported, prospective lenders have criticised the BBB’s pace of accreditation.
The BBB said it is accelerating the onboarding of new lenders to further extend the scheme’s reach and has significantly increased the size of its accreditation team to manage the volume of interest.
It said it is reviewing applications from a wide range of lender types – from PRA-regulated banks, to platform lenders, debt funds, invoice finance lenders, asset finance lenders and responsible finance lenders.
Lee Birkett, founder and chief executive of JustUs, a P2P platform that has applied to be part of CBILS, said that “P2P is the perfect way to distribute the scheme” as they have superior technology.
Birkett has previously called upon the government to allow fintechs and P2P platforms to deliver CBILS.
“The BBB has to see how much banks can do and then it’ll go through P2P, but we need a 100 per cent government guarantee,” Birkett said.
“Our registration has been sent and we’re just waiting for the response.”
Keith Morgan, chief executive of the BBB, said that its accredited lenders have seen “incredible demand” for CBILS in the past few weeks and it is helping to meet that demand by approving more lenders for accreditation.
“These new lenders will be able to deploy vital funding and get additional finance flowing to smaller businesses across the UK as quickly as possible,” he added.
The announcement comes as Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, called for the BBB to add non-bank lenders to the loan scheme and labelled the initial launch as a “major disappointment”.
However, he praised changes made to the scheme, which have opened it up to more small firms.
Shortly before the launch of CBILS, three lenders, Arkle Finance, Close Brothers and Secure Trust Bank, were accredited under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme and have also been accredited under CBILS and are ready to take applications from smaller businesses.