Barclays Business Banking has announced that it will be the first High Street bank to partner with Propel, a specialist asset finance provider, to offer equipment and vehicle finance via an online platform to one million of their SME customers.
The bank’s UK wide network of 1,100 relationship managers will connect directly with ‘Propeller’, Propel’s online portal, which gives quick credit decisions up to £100,000 for SMEs banking with Barclays. This will allow businesses to be able to make equipment purchases up to £2 million, with funds often released within 24 hours.
The collaboration is the latest in a series of strategic fintech partnerships announced by Barclays over the last few years, with MarketFinance and Nimbla offering invoice financing and insurance products to thousands of Barclays Business Banking clients.
Hannah Bernard, Head of Barclays Business Banking, said: “Many small businesses are looking to diversify and strengthen their enterprise as they bounce back from the impact of the pandemic – whether that’s purchasing a van to provide home deliveries or investing in enhanced cleaning equipment to meet new demands. By partnering with Propel we’re offering all our clients access to a market-leading product which will give them even more flexibility when picking the right kind of finance to support their business.
“It’s vital for the recovery of the UK economy that we continue to boost the confidence of small businesses, and our team of relationship managers are here to help them invest for the future.”
A partnership in asset finance was chosen as it continues to be a vital source of funding for SMEs, particularly those that need to invest in a wide range of equipment to support their business activities, investment and growth. It enables SMEs to rapidly obtain business-critical equipment without the need to draw on cash reserves to pay for the assets upfront. They can spread out the cost over a number of years, and the finance is typically secured against the asset rather than additional business collateral.
In 2019, over £35.7 billion of finance was provided to businesses to support investment in new equipment. Businesses across all sectors can turn to asset finance to support investment in vital equipment to help them drive productivity and growth. Investment in both IT equipment and manufacturing sectors has remained strong throughout the pandemic.
The Small Business Finance Markets 2019/2020 report from the British Business Bank revealed that there has been a 32% increase in asset finance over the last few years, with demand continuing to grow.
“SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and we’re proud to be working with Barclays to help drive further growth,” said Mark Catton, CEO of Propel. “Working closely with Barclays’ network of around 1,100 UK Relationship Managers and one million small business customers across the UK, we can support those who need to invest in capital equipment, across all industries and all equipment types, to grow their business. We believe combining brilliant customer service with great technology makes a real difference for customers.”
Barclays has a package of support available for SMEs to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The bank has so far lent over £10 billion through the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to over 275,000 businesses across the UK.