Finance ยท 5 January 2017

High street bank launches instant mobile loans service

Barclays claims customers will be able to get a loan in less than an hour via its mobile banking app
Barclays has launched a mobile loans business lending service it claims is capable of providing instant loans and overdrafts to small firms.

New features on the Barclays Mobile Banking App will enable customers to obtain small business mobile loans or overdraft in less than an hour, the bank has announced, making it the first UK high street bank?to introduce such a service.

In response to a fall in the number of business loan applications in the UK, the high street lender has said its new mobile loans will radically reduce the time taken by business owners to obtain vital funding, as bank loans can often take weeks to secure.

Research from Barclays showed that almost a third of small UK business owners were not planning on applying for a loan, despite acknowledging it would benefit their business.

As many as 64 per cent of the country?s small company owners would see their turnover increase once the right loan was secured, with the potential to generate up to ?34.25bn of economic growth and 200,000 new jobs in the UK in the next four years, according to the lender.

Head of business banking at Barclays, Ian Rand, said in a statement: ?Some business owners are cautious about applying for a loan, whilst many more simply do not have the time.

Rand hoped that by making mobile loans and overdrafts available instantly via smartphones, Barclays? new service would help remove some of the myths that traditional banks do not want to lend.

?Our new, pre-assessed lending gives customers the ability to see how much they could borrow on their mobile, and we can get that money to them more quickly than ever so they can focus on running their businesses,? added Rand.

In terms of the impact new loans would have on the UK?s small businesses, Barclays? found that manufacturing and professional service industries would benefit the most, and could expect boosts of ?1.18bn and ?1.11bn a year respectively, were company owners able to secure the right funding.

One in five small UK business owners believed that Brexit would have an impact on their funding requirements in 2017, with many outlining plans to export to new, non-EU markets, or replace EU employees.

Rand went on to say that Barclays? appetite to lend had not fallen away since the Brexit vote in June last year. ?[Barclays] wants to help [small businesses] be confident in their future plans, including looking at new opportunities to export,? he said.

?[Barclays is] particularly determined to reach out to those businesses who believe lending will be more difficult next year to see where we can help.?

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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.