Lloyds Will Boost Lending to SMEs by 1 Billion Pounds

Lloyds Banking Group Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest publicly owned lender, pledged to provide 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) of loans to small- and medium-sized firms this year as the economy recovers.

The bank will also double the amount of money its local senior managers can lend without seeking central approval to 1 million pounds, Lloyds said in a statement.

We will lend “at competitive margins, building on the growth we have achieved over the past three years,” said Tim Hinton, managing director in Lloyds’s SME and mid-markets banking division. “We are now seeing the recovery gathering pace and there are more reasons for small and medium-sized enterprises to be optimistic and to start investing.”

Regulators and governments are encouraging banks to boost lending to small and medium-sized businesses to bolster the U.K.’s economic rebound. Gross domestic product rose 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, a fourth straight quarter of growth, the Office for National Statistics said last month. From a year earlier, the economy expanded 2.7 percent, the most in almost six years.

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