Starling Bank has revealed that the vast majority of its coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) funding has gone to small firms via its Funding Circle partnership, rather than directly from the bank itself.
Statistics from the challenger lender showed, as of the end of July, it had lent £227.75m to small businesses via Funding Circle, as part of an agreement to fund £300m of CBILS loans through the peer-to-peer lending platform.
In comparison, Starling Bank’s own CBILS loan originations totalled £2.4m.
The bank said it had focused on deploying funds through the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) over CBILS lending and by the end of July had delivered £673m through BBLS.
“The imperative with CBILS and BBLS was, and still is, to get the get money into the hands of business owners quickly,” a spokesperson from Starling Bank told Peer2Peer Finance News via email.
“We felt that Funding Circle was well-placed to deploy these loans quickly. For our own customers, a BBLS loan was often more appropriate.”
Funding Circle announced last month that it had approved approximately £460m in CBILS applications and originated £300m as at 30 June 2020.
“It’s great to see so many customers accessing both CBILS and bounce back loans across both Funding Circle and Starling, and we’re pleased our partnership is working well to serve small businesses at this important time,” a spokesperson from Funding Circle said.
Nic Conner, research consultant for business finance experts Rangewell, praised the CBILS partnership between Starling and Funding Circle.
“Funding Circle has been, for a decade now, the largest unsecured business lender in the UK, so, it is unsurprising that Starling Bank would turn to them to help get coronavirus funding out to their clients,” said Connor.
“Starling launched its business lending product as the world went into lockdown, while Funding Circle has a tried and tested credit assessment model and has the systems in place to deliver the funds.
“This just is a perfect example of how a neo-banks and platform lenders can work together. Starling had the pre-assessed clients and the deposits to lend, while Funding Circle had the technical know-how and pedigree to get the money out the door.”
Starling Bank also revealed that its loanbook had grown from less than £100m in November 2019 to more than £1bn. It said it remains on track to reach break-even by the end of 2020.