Belfast Telegraph

Lending record casts doubt on bank pledges

Bank lending to small businesses fell in the first two months of this year - casting further doubt on the banks' pledges to increase credit made under the Government's Project Merlin agreement.

New loans to small and medium enterprises fell to £949m in January and February from £1.06bn a year earlier, according to figures from the British Bankers' Association. The number of new loans also fell sharply.