OakNorth Bank has approved loans worth £36 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) since the lender went live on the UK government’s pandemic support programme two weeks ago.
The UK banking arm of OakNorth, which is serving growth small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), received the go-ahead to begin lending through CBILS late last month, with an initial allocation of £50 million.
OakNorth Bank has also approved several non-CBILS loans while much of the UK remains under lockdown, taking its total lent since the measures were introduced to £50 million.
Loans have been granted to fund a hotel refurbishment, an acquisition of 131 retirement units across the UK and a fund buy-out, OakNorth Bank revealed, signalling its intent to fund already underserved SMEs that are capable of growth and so perhaps present some risk, rather than prioritising loans that come with a government guarantee.
Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance at OakNorth Bank, said: “This crisis looks like it’s going to be even worse than the financial crisis of 2008. There will be many businesses that were strong, profitable, healthy businesses before the pandemic which will now be struggling to survive.”
“We are trying to find ways to support these businesses and help them through this extremely difficult time, as well as those who have been positively impacted by the lockdown and are looking for debt finance to grow. We are therefore hosting Credit Committees morning, noon and night, as well as on weekends, to try and get capital to the businesses that need it as quickly as possible.”