Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to lend £18 billion to British businesses this year as part of the banking giant’s transformation strategy.
The bank said the funds will be used to support entrepreneurs looking to start new companies, micro-businesses seeking to grow and small firms that are planning to trade internationally for the first time.
The funds will also be used to help mid-sized businesses and large, multinational corporations grow further.
The move is part of the lender’s three-year strategy, with the group having already pledged to grow its lending to start-ups, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized firms by £6 billion by 2020.
The bank said that since the start of 2011, it has increased net lending to SMEs by 34%.
Lloyds announced the transformation plan last February to transform itself into a low-risk digital lender after it returned to private ownership following its government bailout at the height of the financial crisis.
The lending commitment builds on the £500 million growth fund it announced last year to help companies invest in equipment to improve productivity and £5 million to help fund 3,500 manufacturing apprenticeships.
Chief executive Antonio Horta Osorio said: “In 2019, we will lend up to £18 billion to businesses across the UK.
“During these uncertain times, it is important that our customers have financial support and expert guidance to navigate the challenges they may face.
“Whatever the future brings, we will continue to support UK businesses as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper.”