ROYAL Bank of The figures for the Bank of
They may trigger fresh questions about the effectiveness of the Funding for Lending scheme and whether state-owned
Asked about the figures,
He said demand for lending had been muted for some time. The bank continued to see businesses paying money back faster than it could lend.
However, he said: "RBS is committed to playing its full part in the economic recovery and we are on target to meet our commitment to increase gross lending to SMEs by at least 10 per cent to over pound(s)9bn in 2014."
Welcoming signs that confidence levels are growing,
This includes taking a pro-active approach. He said the bank had had 280,000 conversations with customers in the last 18 months and has been telling clients what they could borrow without waiting to be asked.
The bank has put 350 business specialists into branches to help people, while relationship managers are spending time working in customers' businesses.
He said the bank had tried to make the credit application process easier and faster while sign-posting other potential funding sources.
Banks reduced lending by pound(s)2.7bn in total net of repayments. Lending to SMEs fell by pound(s)720m in total and to large corporates by around pound(s)2.1bn.
"Market interventions should be targeted at getting affordable finance to those who need it, not getting more credit to a handful of dead certs at a lower rate," said
He noted only 12.9 per cent of members who responded to a recent survey said credit availability was good.
Figures compiled by the BBA show high street banks including
The value of loans approved for small businesses fell 26 per cent annually, to pound(s)98m, in the quarter.
Banks increased loan funding to medium-sized businesses in
The BBA found banks cut lending to small businesses in the
It noted: "pound(s)6.8bn of new borrowing was approved in Q1, 10 per cent more than the same quarter of last year."
It has been cutting its exposure in areas like property.
A spokesman for the bank said it had a strong capital position.
He added: "While we remain supportive of the
ROYAL Bank of
The figures for the Bank of