Lloyds Banking Group: ‘We are ready to lend’

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Chief executive writes to one million small business customers.

Lloyds Banking Group is ‘ready to lend’, its chief executive has told one million small business customers in a letter.

António Horta-Osório has pledged to lend £5 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2013 under the Funding for Lending scheme

He says reassurance is ‘critical’ to spur economic growth and confidence in the economy.

The group insists the pledge is “reaffirmation of commitments to grow lending to SMEs and support start ups”.

The personal letter from Mr Horta-Osório comes as the banking group records a rise in SME net lending growth of seven per cent over the last two years, against a market decline of eight per cent.

He told the Midweek Herald in a statement: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the bedrock of the UK economy and I am determined to give them all the support they need.

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“This reassurance is critical if we are to help rekindle confidence and spur economic growth and that is why I want to give my personal commitment to supporting the sector through the letter I have sent today.”

The letter also makes it clear that the Group is committed to helping 100,000 start-ups get off the ground this year – one of the main pledges in its 2013 SME Charter published at the beginning of the year.