The British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank, recently published its annual report and accounts 2019, for its fifth year of operation. The report highlights how in the last financial year the bank has supported businesses with 6.6 billion and delivered strongly against all six of its objectives:
Increasing the supply of finance to smaller businesses – the stock of finance supported through the bank’s programmes was £6.6bn as of end of March 2019, an increase of 27% from £5.2bn the previous year.
Helping create a more diverse finance market for smaller businesses – over 90% of the finance the bank supported was delivered through smaller, newer or alternative finance providers. The bank announced 13 new delivery partners across its programmes, bringing the total number of providers it works with to more than 130.
Identifying and helping to reduce regional imbalances in access to finance – the bank’s dedicated regional funds now support more than £240m of finance. To support its regional activities further, it has introduced a new regional angels programme and a UK network of bank colleagues located across all regions of the UK.
Encouraging and enabling SMEs to seek the finance best suited to their needs – awareness of the bank amongst smaller businesses that might seek finance increased from 13% to 28% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. The bank’s new online finance hub has had over 200,000 visits since its June 2018 launch, and 77% of users would recommend the finance hub to others.
Being the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK, providing advice and support to the government – the bank has worked across government to support priorities such as housing – with guarantees for up to £1bn to support lending to smaller house builders – and national security. It has also published five major reports, including a ground-breaking UK VC and female founders report in February 2019.
Achieving its other objectives while managing taxpayers’ money efficiently – the bank returned a profit before tax of £81.3m. It produced a 3.6% adjusted return on capital employed, ahead of its 2.5% target. Since the bank was created, it has generated excess returns ahead of its five-year target amounting to £195m.
Keith Morgan, CEO, said, “In the past year, the bank has delivered strongly against all six of its objectives and is supporting over 89,000 businesses with £6.6bn of finance, an increase of 27% over the year, following a period of rapid growth both in scope and delivery. The last five years have seen the British Business Bank build a strong track record of developing carefully targeted programmes to improve small business finance markets. We are well placed to support smaller businesses across the UK at every stage of development now and in the future.”