Blog Post

How the UK’s ‘Big Five’ banks are handling CBILS applications

The UK’s SME community continues to be hit hard by the effects of the unprecedented COVID-19 lockdown. As social distancing measures are further extended into May 2020, we take a look at how five of the biggest banks are handling the spike in CBILS applications.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was created to help UK businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million access government-backed finance amidst the pandemic. It’s no secret that it’s got off to a sluggish start.

The scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak four weeks ago and has been beset by a number of teething problems. Things are beginning to pick up, but slowly. UK Finance announced in mid-April that 28,461 applications had been received, with 6,016 approved – so a current approval rate of 21%.

These approvals have only resulted in around £1.1 billion of emergency loans. When you consider that the government pledged £330 billion of support, it really hits home how far there is to go.

The below table provides a snapshot of how the Big Five UK banks are handling CBILS.

BankHow to ApplyNew/Existing Customers

News on Approvals

RBSOnline or telephone

BothTaxpayer-backed RBS has so far approved 2,500 loans
LloydsOnline form

Existing onlyCustomers have cited lengthy delays before being declined
BarclaysCall-back request form in first instance 

BothCustomers have complained about not receiving call-backs
SantanderContact relationship manager by telephone

Existing onlyCustomers have cited 3 weeks without a response
HSBCApply online

Existing onlyBy 18 April, HSBC was reported as having only approved 2,000 loans

As the table shows – and as reported widely in the financial press – the banks have been slow to react to the avalanche of applications that they are receiving. Customers are complaining about lengthy wait times for approvals, and reporting issues with getting through on the telephone or else not receiving a call back.

Banking on the right partner

The existing process is clearly not fit for purpose, but banks can employ a comprehensive digital solution by partnering with agile fintechs like ezbob. Our technology helps you to ensure that SMEs eligible for CBILS receive funds quickly, reducing the strain on your systems and resources caused by the high volume of applications.

The ezbob CBILS solution requires no integration to your existing infrastructure. It’s a fully hosted and managed ecosystem with preconfigured APIs accessing data from the open banking environment. It’s also CBILS compliant, supporting eligibility, viability and, where required, British Business Bank reporting.

Get in touch today to find out more about our CBILS solution.