As the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak begins to directly impact more businesses, NatWest has outlined the initial support it will provide to SMEs across the UK, including a £5bn Working Capital Support extension to its successful Growth Funding Package, ongoing support and practical advice for businesses.
NatWest is the largest supporter of UK businesses and is committed to helping SMEs thrive and achieve their potential. This £5bn of funding builds on the targeted support the bank offered to SMEs through flooding and Brexit readiness as they adapt to the rapidly evolving impacts of the Coronavirus on the UK economy. These Funding initiatives have already offered £9.5bn facilities of which £6.5bn is committed and this support builds on NatWest’s existing commitments as a founding signatory of the Government’s SME Finance Charter.
The package of support for SMEs throughout the UK, will help across all sectors and where there is the greatest disruption and need. The SME support includes following components:
• An additional £5bn of support to the Fund focused on the provision of working capital support that meets the needs of SMEs
• Loan repayment holidays
• Temporary emergency loans with no fees
• NatWest’s team of Relationship Managers based in communities across the UK will proactively speak to business customers offering help and support as they form their plans to mitigate the impact of coronavirus
• The Bank’s team of locally based Business Growth Enablers will also work with their external networks to distribute information to businesses on Coronavirus preparedness
• Continued work with the Government, British Business Bank and UK Finance to understand the evolving impacts and appropriately support SMEs
• Proactive outreach to those SMEs that may be experiencing short-term trading issues due to Coronavirus to ensure they are able to access the best possible range of support
• Through NatWest Mentor, the provision of consultancy and advice to help support businesses. This can range from employment law & HR advice, to health & safety and environmental management consultancy
• Specific sectoral insight and advice from dedicated Sector Banker specialists
Alison Rose, CEO NatWest, commented:
“The ongoing uncertainty that the UK’s small and medium sized businesses are experiencing is unprecedented even by recent standards. While many of our customers are yet to feel the direct impacts of Coronavirus, I want NatWest to have the right support in place, so we are there to help our SME customers when they need us most.
This is a priority for NatWest and we will remain proactive, continuing to listen to our customers – we are here to support and can help businesses manage any short term disruption. SMEs should not feel like they have to go through these uncertain times alone, we are here to help.”
NatWest has been closely monitoring the developing situation both in terms of the overall economic impact as well as specific sector and regional impacts to make sure the appropriate support is in place for SME customers. The bank is already speaking to many SMEs customers, who may potentially be impacted, on the steps they can take and the support that is available.
Paul Thwaite, CEO Commercial Banking NatWest, commented:
“The impacts our customers may experience will vary from sector to sector, but we want to be proactive in the way we support them and to use our size and scale, combined with our detailed customer and sectoral knowledge to ensure the UK’s SMEs are supported through the impact of the Coronavirus. We are here to help, there is support available and we want to get it to those who need it.”