Challenger bank Allica has been accredited for the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), becoming the first bank outside of the original CBILS lenders to be approved for the Scheme.

The Scheme supports access to finance for UK businesses as they recover and grow coming out of the pandemic. Funds can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including managing cashflow, growth and investment. It is designed to appeal to businesses that can afford to take out additional finance for these purposes. It has provided vital support to many, giving them the resources to adapt to the opportunities the pandemic has presented, such as diversifying their product offering or adapting their logistics strategy.

Originally due to end in December of this year, the Scheme was recently extended to June 2022, providing a boost to the UK’s SME contingent in a time of crucial economic recovery. The Scheme’s end date of 31 December will still apply for enterprise customers.

Allica said it will begin by offering asset finance and move to commercial property finance next year.

Allica Bank received full banking authorisation from the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) in September 2019 and focuses on what it calls the underserved established SME market.

Alongside its bespoke technology, it has committed to providing every customer with a dedicated and expert relationship manager. As well as asset finance, it also offers businesses commercial mortgages and savings accounts and plans to launch a business current account in early-2022.

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Conrad Ford, Allica’s chief product officer, said: “To be the first non-CBILS lender to be approved for the Recovery Loan Scheme is a real boon for Allica. Our mission, since day one, has been to empower established SMEs with expert human support, backed up with a seamless digital experience. These features have never been more important for business owners than during this pandemic, and we’re pleased that established SMEs affected by it will now have even more choice.

“This comes at a vital time,” he continued, “as businesses emerge from the pandemic with their sights set on expansion, growth and diversification. With greatly improved mitigation of risk, there is now even more scope to reach the established SMEs in the UK who may benefit from additional support.”

UK asset finance sector welcomes extension of SME Covid support scheme

Recovery Loan Scheme extended until 30 June 2022