Bank announces £900,000 funding package for region’s SMEs

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A six-figure funding package from Unity Trust Bank has been announced to help to support small businesses in the West Midlands which are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank has agreed a loan of £900,000 for Birmingham-based ART Share which trades as ART Business Loans (ART) – a Community Development Finance Institution and accredited provider of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

CBILS provides financial support to SMEs that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and this loan will be used to support existing ART clients who have been affected.

Dr Steve Walker, chief executive of ART, said: “We have a client base of 250 businesses and social enterprises. Most have been affected by the current situation – from facing the threat of closure to being inundated with demand for products.

“Thanks to this funding from Unity Trust Bank, we are hoping to support more than 25 businesses across a wide range of sectors in under-served areas and communities which have been declined financial help from other banks.

“We have had a long-standing relationship with Unity Trust Bank and they have supported our growth and provided invaluable support over the years. This loan will make a big difference to businesses during these unprecedented times.”

ART was established in 1997 to ‘alleviate poverty through enterprise’ by lending to businesses unable to access the finance they needed from banks and so enable them to create or preserve jobs.
Since 2005, Unity Trust Bank has provided ART Share with several funding packages totalling more than £13.2m.

Jason James, relationship manager at Unity Trust Bank said: “We help to create a better society by working with a range of organisations that share our values.

“We support CDFIs like ART so they can deliver responsible, affordable lending to help small businesses which struggle to access finance from mainstream providers.

“These are difficult times for a lot of businesses, and we are pleased that this latest funding package will help ART to support the Government’s CBILS programme.”