iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders, has today been approved for accreditation by the British Business Bank under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Existing customers affected by COVID-19 will be able to apply this week, followed gradually by new customers.
Under iwoca’s CBILS, small businesses will be able to access loans between £50,001 and £250,000. There will be no interest (for the business owner) or capital repayments for the first 12 months and no personal guarantee on the loan.
Co-founder and CEO, Christoph Rieche said: “Britain’s small businesses will be playing a front and centre role in getting our economy back on track. From today we’ll be able to support this effort and give small businesses much needed access to funding so that they can manage cash flow gaps, stay afloat and prepare for the future.
“There are nearly 800,000 businesses in the UK that generate more than £250k in annual revenues of which 450,000 generate more than £500k in annual revenues1. The demand for CBILS from these businesses is significantly larger than the combined processing capacity of the banks, who, in normal times, approve approximately 7,000 small business loans per month and in April approved around 25,000 under the CBILS. We will work alongside the largest banks to serve as many small businesses as possible to ensure they can navigate through this crisis. My message to the CEOs of the banks is one of collaboration – we should all be working together to process applications so that we get the job done for small businesses as fast as possible.
“Having already served over 50,000 customers since 2012, our processing capabilities for lending match, and, in many cases exceed, those of the big banks. We’ll only achieve the best result for small businesses if we work together and adapt. The Fintech community has the ability to scale fast and as a group we have already supported over 400,000 small and micro businesses with finance, representing 30% of all SME lending.
“Our accreditation is a step in the right direction, but there’s more that can be done. We’ll continue to work closely with the Government, the British Business Bank and other banks to make these schemes work for small businesses. As a non-bank lender we do not have access to financing from the Bank of England. During this unprecedented time the Government needs to go one step further to level the playing field between banks and non-banks so that we can deliver on their commitment to save Britain’s small businesses.”