Barclays Business Banking has partnered with asset finance provider Propel to offer equipment and vehicle finance to SME customers via an online platform.

The bank’s network of 1,100 UK relationship managers will connect directly to Propel’s online portal, which gives credit decisions up to £100,000 for SMEs. This will allow businesses to be able to make equipment purchases up to £2m, with funds often released within 24 hours.

Hannah Bernard, head of Barclays Business Banking, said: “Many small businesses are looking to diversify and strengthen their enterprise as they bounce back from the impact of the pandemic – whether that’s purchasing a van to provide home deliveries or investing in enhanced cleaning equipment to meet new demands.

“By partnering with Propel we’re offering all our clients access to a market leading product which will give them even more flexibility when picking the right kind of finance to support their business. It’s vital for the recovery of the UK economy that we continue to boost the confidence of small businesses, and our team of relationship managers are here to help them invest for the future.”

The Small Business Finance Markets 2019/2020 report from the British Business Bank revealed that there has been a 32% increase in asset finance over the last few years, with demand continuing to grow.

Mark Catton, chief executive of Propel, said: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and we’re proud to be working with Barclays to help drive further growth.

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“Working closely with Barclays’ network of around 1,100 UK Relationship Managers and 1m small business customers across the UK, we can support those who need to invest in capital equipment, across all industries and all equipment types, to grow their business. We believe combining brilliant customer service with great technology makes a real difference for customers.”

Barclays has a package of support available for SMEs to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The bank has so far lent over £10bn through the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to over 275,000 businesses across the UK.

Earlier this month, Barclays provided a £150m securitisation to White Oak Bank to support lending through the CBILS scheme. Daniel Werchola, director of M&A at White Oak, said: “We are pleased to have successfully executed this significant transaction with Barclays on an accelerated timeframe to ensure we help SMEs, which are the powerhouse of the UK economy.”