Lloyds lends over 1 billion pounds on day one of new UK small business scheme

FILE PHOTO: A sign hangs outside a Lloyds Bank branch in London, Britain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L said it lent more than 1 billion pounds ($1.24 billion) to small businesses on Monday, when a new 100% state-guaranteed loan scheme opened to help the smallest firms weather the economic impact of the coronavirus.

“More than 32,000 of our small business customers applied for a bounce back loan on Monday and received the money on Tuesday,” Lloyds’ managing director for business banking, Gareth Oakley, said.

Britain’s major banks have faced widespread criticism from politicians and regulators for the slow pace of lending under an earlier scheme targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, where the government guarantees 80% of the money lent.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Estelle Shirbon