New feature on Barclays app to speed up business loans
Barclays is rolling out a new service on its mobile banking app which it says can help small businesses access loans in less than an hour.
It claims to be the first UK bank able to approve and transfer full loans to small and medium enterprise (SME) accounts via its mobile app - in some cases within 60 minutes.
Those loans can otherwise take weeks to approve, it said.
Ian Rand, chief executive of business banking at Barclays, said: "We recognise that some businesses are cautious about applying for a loan, whilst many more simply do not have the time.
"Our new, pre-assessed lending gives customers the ability to see how much they could borrow on their mobile and we can get that money to them more quickly than ever so they can invest in and focus on running their businesses."
Barclays has offered online pre-assessment since 2013, but this is the first time businesses can take on the whole process via the mobile app.
Retail customers already have access to loans through mobile banking.
Barclays said that easier access to loans could help to unlock £34.25 billion in economic growth from UK SMEs by 2021, with subsequent growth resulting in as many as 194,000 jobs.
However, the bank said that 39% of small business are not planning to apply for a loan, despite acknowledging it could help their business, and that nearly 24% of SMEs currently believe it will be harder to borrow 2017 due to political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
But Barclays said it will continue to offer loans to business customers, despite Brexit jitters.
Mr Rand said. "Since the EU Referendum, our appetite for lending has not diminished and we continue to lend to an SME in the UK every four minutes.
We want to help SMEs be confident in their future business plans, including looking at new opportunities to export. We are particularly determined to reach out to those businesses who believe lending will be more difficult next year to see where we can help."
App-based loans are the bank's latest innovation, having launched contactless cash withdrawals in November, which allows customers to withdraw money without inserting their bank cards at in-branch cash machines.