Fewer than half of applications for loans under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) have been approved so far, industry data shows.
Figures from banking trade body UK Finance show lenders have received more than 36,000 completed applications so far, of which 16,624 have been approved between the launch of the scheme at the start of the month up to 21 April.
This equates to just 46.1 per cent of loans getting to small businesses.
The body said more applications are being considered and will be approved in the coming days, with half the total number of loans provided through CBILS approved in the past eight days alone.
More than £2.8bn has been lent to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the scheme so far.
“The banking and finance sector understands the critical role we have in helping businesses through these tough times,” Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said.
“Frontline staff have been working tirelessly to get money to those viable businesses that need it as quickly as possible, with over £2.8bn of lending provided to 16,000 firms so far.
“This lending forms part of a broad package of support provided to SMEs including additional loans, capital repayment holidays, extended overdrafts and asset-based finance.
“We know businesses want to look after their most important resource – their people – and so lenders are offering additional support to firms awaiting grants from the coronavirus job retention scheme.
“We stand ready to support many more businesses in the weeks ahead, and will continue to work closely with the government to ensure businesses can access the support they need.”
Peer-to-peer lenders have argued that fintech platforms can provide a faster way of facilitating CBILS loans.
Funding Circle became the first, and so far only, P2P lender to become an accredited CBILS lender last week.
There have also been calls for more detailed data on the scheme to monitor if particular sectors are being neglected.