Seven of the UK’s biggest banks have published postcode specific SME lending figures for 2012.
The lenders, which together account for around 80% of current lending, published data for the first 120 postcodes via the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), which intends to roll the scheme out to 10,000 individual postcodes.
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the data, to be published every three months, is "a major step forward in terms of transparency", which should "encourage competition by helping smaller lenders to identify gaps in the market and allowing businesses to hold their local bank to account where they aren’t lending."
Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, said "This is the first time that figures have been published that set out the levels of borrowing undertaken by businesses across the country in each postcode area.
"These figures show that from Aberdeen right down to Truro the UK’s banks are putting over £100 billion into the engine room of the economy, the SME sector."
The figures, provided by RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Barclays, Santander UK, Nationwide, and Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, provide insight into regional differences in lending as well as general SME lending trends.
Only 22 of the 120 postcodes showed an increase in borrowing last year, while in terms of regions only Wales and the South West saw more SMEs borrowing than making deposits.
Areas that Browne called "key growth regions" were receiving a higher proportion of SME lending compared to SME turnover, with Wales receiving 5% SME lending and accounting for 2% of national SME turnover, and the South West and North West both receiving 11% of SME lending and producing 5% and 8% of SME turnover respectively.
Conversely, London produced 29% of the country’s SME business while borrowing accounted for only 21% of the total, and the South East produced 17% of SME turnover while taking 13% of the country’s loans.