UK credit agency partners with banks to offer better support for exporters

1 November 2017


British exporters can access financial support faster and more efficiently, thanks to a new scheme by the UK’s specialist credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), which officially launched last month (October 2017).

UKEF, a government department working alongside the Department for International Trade (DIT) has joined with five of Britain’s biggest banks for the new scheme, which also enables supply chain companies directly supporting exporters to access government-backed financial support for the first time, dramatically increasing the number of businesses to benefit.

The five banks helping deliver the initiative, following a partnership agreement signed with the Department for International Trade in July 2016, are Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS/NatWest and Santander.

In announcing the new scheme, which has also dramatically simplified application documentation, international trade secretary, Liam Fox, said: “This new partnership demonstrates the Department for International Trade’s commitment to help small businesses seize the global demand for British exports.

“Providing easily-accessible finance, backed by UKEF’s guarantee, will lift a common barrier to exporting. Offering that finance to suppliers, as well as exporters, spreads the benefits of global trade, supporting more jobs and growth for large and small companies.”

Since UKEF’s trade finance products were launched in 2011, almost 300 businesses have been granted nearly £500m in support of overseas contracts worth several billion pounds. UKEF’s new scheme was launched at a time when almost 70 per cent of international SMEs said they planned to grow in the next 12 months.

Santander’s international director of corporate and commercial banking, Leeds, Andrew Joy, a Chamber International adviser, says: “As well as simplifying the documentation, banks now have delegated authority to agree deals, meaning exporters can liaise with only one entity. We are also excited by the introduction of digitisation into applying, which should save time.

“Exporting is crucial helping drive UK economic growth. The Government is committed to helping exporters. Santander backs this and we have updated our internal procedures to support as many applications as possible. 

“But finance is just the end of a deal. Winning export business involves a huge amount of work and Santander also helps clients find new opportunities by running trade missions and market visits, independently, or with other agencies such as the Department for International Trade and chambers of commerce.

“Our global network also enables us to bring overseas buyers to the UK to meet potential suppliers. Examples of this are the major Middle Eastern supermarkets, Lulu and Spinney’s.  We also have a Santander trade portal, an online research tool which helps UK businesses identify potential buyers in more than 30 global markets.”

UK Export Finance, which has a regional network of 24 export finance managers, aims to ensure that no viable UK export initiative should fail for lack of finance or insurance from the private market and provides finance and insurance to help exporters win, fulfill and ensure they get paid for export contracts.

UKEF supports exporters with a range of products that include: bond insurance, bond support buyer and supplier credit finance, direct lending, export insurance policies, export refinancing, export working capital and a Letter of Credit guarantee scheme.


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