U.K. Retail Banks to Offer More Export Loans in Liam Fox's Plan

  • Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Santander provide export finance
  • Brexit-backer Fox says initative will lift barriers to trade

Five of the U.K.’s leading retail banks have pledged more financial support for small British exporters, with government backing, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration prepares the country for life after Brexit. 

The U.K. said its export credit agency reached an agreement with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS/NatWest and Santander UK Plc to provide export-related trade finance, for example working capital loans and bonds required by overseas buyers, backed by government guarantees. 

The offer is aimed at smaller businesses that want to export their own products, and those hoping to win supply chain contracts for larger exporters, the Department for International Trade said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

The partnership between government and the banks will help “small businesses seize the global demand for British exports” by lifting “a common barrier to exporting,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, a leading Brexit supporter, said. “Providing that finance to suppliers as well as exporters means spreading the benefits of global trade, supporting more jobs and growth for companies large and small,” Fox added. 

The extra help for British companies to export is part of the U.K. government’s effort to prepare the economy for leaving the EU. May intends to pull Britain out of the EU customs union in order to be able to sign trade deals with other countries around the world, including the U.S.

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