How banks are doing their duty amid pandemic

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. This Friday, the nation marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when we will all remember the huge sacrifice of previous generations. To help households, we have introduced mortgage holidays, so struggling families do not have to pay a penny for three months. After a slow start and some refinement by the Government, 25,000 firms have now received a CBILS loan and over £4bn has been lent, with no interest or fees for the first 12 months. For those with higher turnovers, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has been introduced on similar terms. Thousands of other businesses have had their existing overdrafts increased, new loans and invoice finance extended, or received capital and interest repayment holidays on existing facilities.  Today brings the launch of new, fast-track finance, the Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS), to help smaller businesses access the funds they need.  This is a vital intervention to help lending flow quickly and simply to the smallest businesses, underpinned by a 100pc government guarantee. What’s more, under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, those at the top are legally accountable for any errors made in a bank’s lending practices.  In this environment, providing loans to small businesses who only need to self-certify their viability, as is the case with the BBLS, is quite a change from current regulatory requirements and usual, prudent lending practices. Lenders are nervous – in normal times they would not be allowed to lend in this way without government permission or a guarantee that underpins any future losses. Gallery: Coronavirus turns the world into a ghost town (The Atlantic) Social distancing will limit how many customers or staff can be in a premises; consumer habits will change, caution may reign.  The banking and payments industry knows the vital role it plays in making the uptick as swift as possible.  We need to support businesses so that they have the best shot at survival.