The British Business Bank delivered £89bn to 1.77m businesses in the 12 months ending 31 March 2021 – a ten-fold increase on the previous year’s total.
According to the bank’s latest annual report, £81.5bn of this money was delivered via Covid emergency support schemes such as the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) and the bounce back loan scheme (BBLs).
Furthermore, 94.5 per cent of the finance supported by the bank’s core finance programmes was delivered through smaller, newer or alternative finance providers, exceeding its 94.0 per cent target.
Over the course of the year, the bank added 78 new delivery partners across its programmes, bringing the total number of providers it was working with to more than 218 at the end of March 2021.
Catherine Lewis La Torre (pictured), chief executive of the British Business Bank, said that the bank had seen a “rapid scaling journey…from an emerging ‘start up’ towards a much larger, more mature organisation, [which] mirrored the trajectory we typically seek to support for smaller businesses.”
“Throughout 2020/21, in response to the pandemic the British Business Bank performed a role vital to the UK government, finance markets and the economy as a whole,” she added.
“We look forward to using our unique position in the market to support businesses further as they recover and return to growth once more, thereby rebuilding the foundations of the UK’s future prosperity.”
It is believed that the bank will now seek additional funding from the Chancellor in the autumn spending review to support regional SMEs and start up loans.
For the 2021/22 financial year, the bank has issued a revised mission, which now includes a climate-linked goal.
“To drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by improving access to finance for smaller businesses,” the bank said.
Elsewhere in the annual report, it was revealed that the British Business Bank achieved an adjusted return of 14.6 per cent – significantly exceeding its 0.10 per cent target. This was driven by the “generally strong performance of equity finance markets in 2020/21.”