Download the full outcome
Detail of outcome
The government welcomes the widespread support for its proposals to improve access to finance for SMEs through a mandatory process whereby lenders are required to share details of SMEs they reject for finance, so those businesses can be approached by alternative lenders.
In light of this support, the government has decided to proceed with legislation through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. The legislation will require the largest UK SME lenders to forward on details of SMEs they reject for finance (where SMEs give their consent) to platforms that will help them be linked up with alternative lending opportunities. Private sector platforms will be designated to receive this information by the government on the basis of their meeting clear minimum standards that focus on ensuring that SMEs are in control and properly protected throughout the process.
The government has today (18 December 2014) published draft regulations to assist Parliament’s scrutiny of the powers in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. These are not in final form and further changes may be made before the regulations are made.
The government intends to institute further requirements for ‘online platforms’ that wish to be designated under these regulations; these will be set out non-legislatively in due course.
This consultation seeks views on whether the government should legislate to help match SMEs that have been rejected for loans with challenger banks and alternative finance providers who are looking to offer finance. The consultation also asks questions about the mechanics of delivering such a measure if the government decided to legislate, and sets out the government’s preferred approach of requiring banks to refer details of SMEs that have been rejected for loans to a platform or platforms so that they can be accessed by challenger banks and other providers of finance.