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UK Pledges Export Finance Boost for SMEs with New General Export Facility

The new system marks a 'radical' shake up, with SMEs able to access financial support directly from leading banks

Published on December 8, 2020

Santander London Bikes Santander is one of the banks providing trade finance directly to SMEs through the General Export Facility

Yesterday, December 7, the government announced the launch of the General Export Facility, a new service described as a "radical" shake up of the way small businesses in the UK can access trade finance.

The new scheme will allow SMEs to apply for finance from the UK's five largest banks; HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander and Barclays. Finance will be backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF), providing an 80% guarantee on financial support from lenders to support general exporting costs, up to £25 million in value.

Launching the General Export Facilty during a speech at UKEF's Trade and Export Finance Forum, Minister for Exports Graham Stuart said that "UKEF’s support for smaller businesses is shifting up a gear. The new General Export Facility will make a huge difference for entrepreneurs who need the financial backing to go global and benefit from our free trade agreements. It will help us bring genuine optimism back to exporters. We were the only top ten exporting nation to grow exports last year. I’m determined for that success to continue as we recover from Covid-19. By transforming access to the world’s best export credit agency, we can unlock the entrepreneurial energy needed to make that a reality."

Managing Director of UK Finance, Stephen Pegge, added that "Supporting British exporters at this time is vital, which is why UK Finance and five of the main export lenders have been working closely with UKEF on the development of this new guarantee scheme. We expect business to apply from the new year as the General Export Facility enables lenders to support an even wider range of small and medium-sized firms, giving businesses the confidence to win new contracts by having an agreed revolving facility in place."

More details on the General Export Facility, including eligibility and terms, can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/general-export-facility

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