Updated: 21 December 2020
As we approach the end of a truly unique and challenging year, we wanted to recap on what we have been up to since the start of Covid-19 to manage the loanbook and protect returns during these turbulent times.
Whilst we know the impact of the pandemic is not yet behind us, we do know that by working hard to support the small businesses you have lent to means they are more likely to get back on their feet, minimising avoidable credit losses in the long run. Small businesses are also at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery and we believe it is important to play our part in supporting them through this period.
Here are some of the steps we have been taking along the way…
We were the first marketplace lending platform to be accredited by the British Business Bank under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and opened applications to small businesses in just six weeks. Following this, we were accredited for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to further support small businesses in getting access to the finance they need during this difficult period.
We introduced enhanced payment plans for businesses that need a short term break from their monthly repayments, working closely with them to find a solution that brings them back on track and making their monthly repayments again.
We have significantly increased capacity within the team to ensure we are providing businesses with all the support they need through this period.
We have introduced more regular touch points throughout the lifetime of the loan to keep a business up-to-date on the status of their loan whilst also allowing us to pre-empt any issues (ie. missed payments or default) before they arise.
We have strengthened our reporting capabilities to allow us to be more proactive with how we communicate with businesses, helping to reduce the chance of a business defaulting on their loan.
We work with expert partners that can offer cash flow, finance and debt management advice to business owners.
We have enhanced our risk monitoring to quickly identify changes in both our loanbook and the wider environment by frequently analysing data for more detailed insights. This also allows us to make rapid and effective adjustments to our credit parameters if needed.
We are pleased that these steps have had a positive impact so far, with the majority of businesses that took a payment plan during the first lockdown having now resumed their payments. For the loanbook as a whole, more than 90% of UK borrowers are now making their monthly repayments.
We have also facilitated £1.35bn of lending to small businesses through CBILS (as at 15 November 2020), playing an important role in helping small businesses through this difficult period.
As always, we continue to watch your portfolios closely and move quickly to innovate and adapt in the interest of protecting your returns.