Belfast Telegraph

Bank of Scotland unveils new export business target

The Bank of Scotland has pledged to help Scottish businesses become first-time exporters to boost the nation's economy .

The bank's commitment is included in the new charter for small and medium enterprises by its parent company Lloyds Banking Group, which sets a target of supporting 5,000 new exporters across the UK in 2016 and 25,000 by 2020.

The charter also pledges to boost lending to small businesses by £1 billion, support 100,000 start-ups and back 1,000 fast-growth businesses during 2016.

Graham Blair, Bank of Scotland's regional director, SME banking Scotland, said: "The future success of the Scottish economy hinges on small businesses looking to overseas markets for growth.

"Through this new pledge, we want to support a new legion of Scottish exporters, and ultimately to help the Scottish economy to prosper.

"We have been working in partnership with UK Trade & Investment for the past year, looking at ways to boost Scottish exports, and through this commitment we hope to contribute towards supporting new exporters.

"Successful exporting is no mean feat - and that is why we are investing in both on-the-ground expertise and digital technology, in order to ensure that businesses have the backing they need to succeed."

Lloyds Banking Group plans to invest a total £450 million in digital technology and training in the next three years, including creating a new international trade portal enabling UK businesses to discover opportunities across the globe.

The group has trained more than 300 UK staff in international trade and also has a network of export specialists across the country to help develop and advise on overseas trading opportunities.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Price said: "This government has committed to having 100,000 more UK companies exporting by 2020 and this pledge by Lloyds is a welcome contribution towards this target.

"It's great to see the banks doing their bit to support small and medium-sized businesses looking to invest and create jobs.

"By working together like this we can make sure British businesses up and down the country have the support they need to export their goods and services around the world, and that the UK remains a great trading nation."