Helping you to access business loans during this national emergency

As a valued member of FSB, we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on business funding options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are difficult times for us all. And, as was true before the COVID-19 crisis, there are no shortcuts when it comes to business finances. But FSB Funding Platform is doing what we can, to offer FSB members a simple and easy way to access multiple providers for the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) or assist members with information about it.

As part of the Government’s package to support UK businesses as they recover and grow following the coronavirus pandemic, RLS launched on 06 April 2021 and will run until 31st December 2021, subject to review. The scheme aims to give SMEs affected by COVID-19 financial support for any legitimate business purpose, such as cashflow, investment, and growth.

You can access the scheme by visiting the British Business Bank directly and enquire with each provider of your choice.

If your business has already borrowed from previous schemes, including the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), RLS still an option for you, but note that the circumstances limit the amount you may borrow under RLS.

If you register through our FSB Funding Platform, you can make one simple and easy application, saving you time and effort. We then do the hard work for you by checking your eligibility with our current list of providers. Not all providers are available through the Funding Platform at the moment, but more are being added. We can also use your application to suggest other funding options available to you.

Get a faster decision by going online

FSB Funding Platform is able to offer you help within 48 hours, based on a combination of intelligent technology and excellent customer service.

Please do go online first, because it makes it easier for us to assist you and provide you with information that is relevant for your circumstances. You can also call 0330 097 2359, but advice will be of a more general nature, until we have further details from you via our platform.

We are working closely with our providers to update our platform as soon as they become a provider of the new scheme.

RLS covers Term Loans, Asset Finance, Invoice Finance and Revolving Credit (Overdrafts) from £1,000 up to £10 million. Finance terms are up to six years for Term Loans and Asset Finance facilities. Please also note that lenders have agreed they will not take personal guarantees as security for lending below £250,000.

There are several reasons why you might get offered a business loan outside of RLS:

  1. Not every business finance provider in the UK is accredited. You can check the British Business Bank website for the latest list of acredited lenders or apply on FSB Funding Platform and we can signpost you to those that we work with – we are currently updating the list.
  2. Not every accredited lender can provide every type of finance that RLS covers: the lender may have – based on your application – concluded that a non-RLS product is a better match for your funding needs.
  3. RLS launched with a caveat, whereby lenders were encouraged to offer loans on commercial terms where Government backing was not required. Access to the scheme has now been opened up further and you may therefore consider re-contacting your lender if you have previously been unsuccessful in securing fundinng.

Because the Coronavirus pandemic affects businesses in different ways, you will find that RCL applications require more detail than a standard business finance application.

FSB Funding Platform will keep you updated with what information is required, but expect to answer the following questions from lenders:

Funding requirements

  • The amount you are seeking
  • What the funding will be used for — the lender is obliged to check that their finance product suits your business needs
  • Your preferred repayment period — this is important, because lenders need to assess whether your business can afford the loan

Supporting documents

  • Management accounts
  • Business plan
  • Historic accounts
  • Details of assets

The above list will vary for each lender, but what is a common theme is that you will need to provide evidence to show that your business can afford to repay the amount you are borrowing plus interest. Users of FSB Funding Platform have the use of Open Banking and accounting software integrations to help prepare their finance application in minutes.

 

Your business does not automatically qualify for funding. The eligibility criteria will vary for each lender, and as such, each lender has the authority to decide whether to offer finance to your business or not.

A good way to think about this is that the Government provides backing at a ‘wholesale’ level to accredited lenders. And then each lender turns RLS into ‘market-facing’ products. In practice, this means that some lenders will offer one type of product, and larger providers may offer several business finance options. To learn more about lenders’ requirements, see the British Business Bank Quick Eligibility Checklist.

As of 6 April 2021, the following product types are in scope:

  • Term Loans
  • Asset Finance
  • Invoice Finance
  • Revolving Credit (Overdrafts)

Decision-making on whether a business is eligible for RLS is fully delegated to the British Business Bank’s accredited RLS lenders.

The Government has announced that lenders won’t take any form of personal guarantees on loans under £250,000 for a RLS loan.

For facilities above £250,000, personal guarantees may still be required, but:

  • they exclude the Principal Private Residence (PPR), and
  • recoveries are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the RLS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied

If you have been offered finance and are unsure about the terms, you can request a callback from the team at FSB Funding Platform. We are always happy to try and help you review your options.

Interest and fees to be paid by the business from the outset:

  • Fees associated with the RLS facility.
  • The annual effective rate of interest, upfront fee, and other fees cannot be more than 14.99%.

FSB Funding Platform continues to help business owners to access advice and support for free.

  1. Find a Lender. Check the RLS accredited list.
  2. Businesses should approach a lender themselves, ideally via its website. Please note that not every accredited lender can provide every type of finance available under RLS, and the amount of finance offered varies between lenders too.
  3. The lender makes a final decision. The decision-making on whether a business is eligible for RLS is fully delegated to the British Business Bank’s accredited RLS lenders.

If one lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme.

Please do go online first, because it makes it easier for us to assist you and provide you with information that is relevant for your circumstances. You can also call 0330 097 2359, but advice will be of a more general nature, until we have further details from you via our platform. 

Testimonials

Cost of finance explained

The FSB Funding Platform is a one-stop-shop for all your business finances. As a key benefit for FSB members, we work hard to keep the cost of finance as low as possible, this means that with us:

You don’t pay a fee to compare finance
You get cash back with every finance package
We use our status in the market to get you the best deal we can
We help you find the right finance to suit you and your business