The SME Finance Charter

We’ll help you prepare for Brexit and beyond


As the UK’s largest retail and commercial bank, we have taken steps to ensure that we are ready for Brexit and can continue to be a major provider of lending to support our small business customers. Bank of Scotland is committed to supporting you through Brexit whatever your level of preparedness.

  • Over the last 18 months we have been prompting business customers to consider the impact of Brexit on their business as part of our routine discussions with them.
  • For approximately 10,000 SME customers, where we have identified the greatest need for preparedness, we have created a specific outreach plan to assist them1.
  • To help you, we have brought together the common queries raised by our business customers into a series of FAQs  providing clear answers and links to more information where relevant.
  • We’ve developed our International Trade Portal. This can provide you with the background knowledge to plan with confidence with practical resources for every step of the journey, from identifying and targeting the right market to making a first shipment and staying compliant.


We’re open for business and ready to lend 

In January 2019, we announced our support for UK businesses with a pledge to lend £18bn over the year, as part of our continued commitment to helping Britain prosper2.

  • We approve nine out of ten loan and overdraft applications from small businesses.
  • In 2018, we set the aim to increase net lending to start-ups, SMEs and Mid-Market businesses by a cumulative £6bn by the end of 2020.
  • Since the start of 2011, we have grown our lending to SMEs by 36% and our SME market share of lending now stands at 19%, compared to 13% in 2011 while the market as a whole has contracted by 11%, based on Bank of England statistics.
  • More information on our services and how we support small businesses like yours can be found on our dedicated business website.


We’ll support your application and signpost other options if needed

Our business teams support a wide range of businesses, from entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, to micro-businesses seeking to scale up, to small businesses considering trading internationally for the first time, to mid-sized businesses and large multinational corporations pursuing growth opportunities.

  • Smaller business customers can apply online and get an instant online decision on an application for up to £10,000 or a quote for up to £25,000. 99% of customers who use this tool get a final offer that is the same, better or no more than 10% above their quote.
  • Our SME relationship managers understand your business and we trust their knowledge and experience. Local lending discretion is an important part of the service we offer – with our most senior SME managers able to lend up to £1 million for renewal and to approve new lending up to £500,000.
  • If we are unable to approve your application, we will explain why and provide a referral, where appropriate, to alternative sources of finance.


We’ll treat you fairly at all times

In uncertain times, you need financial support and expert guidance to navigate the unique challenges you may face. Whatever the future brings we will continue to be by the side of British business.

  • We want you to find a product that's right for your circumstances, which is why we adhere to the Standards of Lending Practice monitored and enforced by the Lending Standards Board.
  • Its statement of responsibilities (PDF, 274KB) sets out what's expected of us, the lender, and the borrower.
  • If we are unable to approve your application, we have to explain why and provide a referral, where appropriate, to alternative sources of finance.


We will work with the Government-owned British Business Bank to support SMEs

We have a long established relationship with the British Business Bank and we will continue to work with them to support businesses like yours through this period of uncertainty by continuing to offer of products such as the government backed lending schemes.

You can find out more about the scheme on our government backed lending schemes website.

Further information on SME finance options can be found at

Lloyds Banking Group is an official partner of the Department for International Trade (DIT). As part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper globally, we’ll support 25,000 new exporters by 2020, within the Government’s efforts to help 100,000 businesses export for the first time. Find out more about DIT support for businesses and UK Export Finance







 1 Lloyds Bank plc and Bank of Scotland plc as part of Lloyds Banking Group.
2 Lloyds Banking Group helping Britain prosper