Challenger banks called to help with coronavirus business loans

Posted: 15 April 2020 4:30 pm

Picture not described

Government business support scheme reported to be working with neo-banks to provide emergency loans

With the spread of the coronavirus closing businesses down and keeping us all indoors, measures have been put in place to try and help as many businesses as possible to stay afloat.

One of these measures is the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), currently being administered by the state-owned British Business Bank.

The Telegraph has reported that challenger banks Starling, OakNorth and Cynergy have been approved by the British Business Bank to join the scheme, along with the Co-Operative Bank.

They will join the other financial institutions already included in the programme in providing emergency loans to UK businesses struggling to cope with the reduced footfall and other disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Since its launch, the scheme has attracted some criticism for not moving fast enough, which has apparently caused the British Business Bank to approach digital banks to ask them to help.

The approach was made easier by senior members of staff at both OakNorth and Starling previously expressing the urgency of the situation and their eagerness to land a hand, it was reported.

The head of regulatory affairs at OakNorth, Nick Lee, told The Telegraph that “time is of the essence if we’re to preserve as many small- and medium-sized businesses as we possibly can”.

Starling Bank’s chief banking officer Helen Bierton acknowledged that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on business owners and added that “the important thing now is to get money into their hands”.

With their addition to the CBILS programme, it is hoped that these young and agile banks will be able to boost the speed of support for the UK’s declining economy.

Keith Morgan, chief executive of the British Business Bank, echoed these hopes by telling The Telegraph: “These new lenders will be able to deploy vital funding and get additional finance flowing to smaller businesses across the UK as quickly as possible.”

It has not yet been confirmed when the banks would begin to deal with loan applications.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MikeApril 16, 2020


    I am struggling to find a Bank or broker that can provide me with a CBILS loan. Can you suggest and partners I need to speak too?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      TomApril 20, 2020Staff

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for getting in touch. There are 39 accredited business lenders that are permitted by the government to provide CBILS loans. You can get the full list here. Unfortunately, it’d be difficult to recommend a particular lender without knowing anything about your business or its finances. I would suggest researching which lenders may be most appropriate for your business and then contacting them directly.

      Your business will also need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for a CBILS loan:

      • Be based in the UK
      • Have yearly turnover of no more than £41 million
      • Operate in an eligible sector
      • Has a legitimate borrowing plan but doesn’t meet normal lender requirements
      • Has not received de minimis state aid of more than €200,000 in previous three fiscal years

      I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any further questions.



Go to site