HSBC lends £3.1 billion to SMEs in the first three months of 2012
HSBC provided £3.1 billion of gross lending to UK Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the first three months of 2012, an increase close to 7% (over £200 million) on the same period in 2011.
This announcement follows the bank's earlier commitment to make at least £12 billion in total of lending available to SMEs during 2012 - surpassing what it lent in 2011.
HSBC's International SME Fund is also proving attractive to businesses, with more than £1.3 billion of the total amount lent in the first quarter being borrowed by SMEs that trade or aspire to trade internationally. The £4 billion fund was established after findings from HSBC's ‘Global Connections' trade forecast predicted that over the next 15 years, the UK is set to increase its international business activity by around 60%.
The International SME Fund provides specific support for UK businesses, with a turnover of up to £25 million who currently trade or aspire to trade internationally.
To ensure customers involved in overseas trade are fully supported, HSBC has also recruited more than 70 additional International Commercial Managers to date in 2012. The bank now has over 200 International Commercial Managers in total, located throughout HSBC's network of commercial banking centres, with around 20 more to be recruited in the remainder of the year.
Jacques-Emmanuel Blanchet, Deputy Head of HSBC Commercial Banking Europe and Head of Commercial Banking UK, said:
"HSBC is committed to supporting strong, viable UK businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, and our lending during the first three months of 2012 highlights this. We are on track to lend even more to UK SMEs in 2012 than we did in 2011 and are ahead of schedule to lend £4 billion to businesses who expand their activity internationally through the International SME Fund."
"Trading internationally is critical for not only British companies who want to remain competitive in the future, but it is also critical to the UK economy. As such, in the first three months of 2012, we have increased by over 50% our dedicated salesforce through the recruitment of additional International Commercial Managers to ensure that we are able to provide the high level support needed by businesses which are growing through international trade."