Barclays leaves small firms waiting

The bank, along with other major lenders, opened to applications under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) on Monday this week. Video: Chancellor launches small business loan scheme (ITN News) Banks had promised customers that the streamlined application process would mean they would see money in their account in as little as 24 hours. And Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted earlier this week: 'You could apply for a bounce back loan in the time it takes to have lunch.' Ricky Panesar spent hours on the phone to get through to Barclays, as he was repeatedly faced with error messages when applying for a bounce back loan. Panesar runs Icorrect, a mobile phone repair shop in London which serves major corporates, and takes walk-in clients. Gallery: Thousands of UK retail workers are being furloughed (Business Insider) Under CBILS, which launched in March, many firms were struggling to access small enough loans on terms they could afford, and on a quick enough timescale.  BBLS was supposed to be a lifeline for the thousands of small businesses which have been unable to trade due to the coronavirus lockdown and are now at risk of collapse. Barclays – which is led by chief executive Jes Staley – approved 200 of its initial applications within minutes of the portal opening – but then began to fall behind as the requests kept coming. Load Error Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 'Unfortunately, we are hearing reports that bounce back application forms are hard to access or enquiries are simply being acknowledged with a 'we'll call you' message and nothing further. 'Many of the most vulnerable business owners – particularly sole traders – only have personal banks accounts and, as a result, are being told that they can't access a bounce back loan.