Finance Fred Heritage · 31 October 2017
British Business Bank boosts small housebuilder lending with 500m Enable Guarantee
The British Business Bank (BBB) has secured an Enable Guarantee? for United Trust Bank (UTB), so the lender can significantly increase the amount of development finance it provides to small UK housebuilding firms. The transaction marks the first time the government-backed BBB has used the Enable Guarantee specifically to finance the housebuilding sector. The Enable Guarantee programme encourages banks to lend more to small businesses by reducing the proportion of capital needed to be held against that lending. Under an Enable Guarantee, the government takes on a percentage of the lender’s risk on a portfolio of loans in exchange for a fee. In this instance, UTB has said it will use the freed-up capital to increase its financing of development projects run by smaller housebuilding firms. The BBB has predicted that the agreement will allow for the building of new UK homes to the tune of 500m in total, over the lifetime of the Guarantee. Commenting on the deal, BBB chief executive, Keith Morgan, has said: We are very pleased that our Enable Guarantee will help UTB provide the extra finance that smaller housebuilders require to allow them to grow, succeed and build the new housing stock the country needs. banks have frequently reported that the high capital requirements associated with development lending have restricted their ability to lend to SME housebuilders. Our Enable Guarantee is specifically designed to address this issue. Recent analysis of the UK housebuilding sector highlights some of the challenges faced by small developers when attempting to access finance. This year’s UK-wide survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that 54 per cent of SMEs in the sector are constrained in their ability to build new homes due to lack of finance. Meanwhile, the BBB’s Small Business Finance Markets report 2016/17 found that, while housebuilding firms outside the country’s top ten largest accounted for 73 per cent of completed projects in 2009, that figure had dropped to 53 per cent by 2015.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.