Financial services firm Virgin Money has joined the UK government’s General Export Facility (GEF), opening up access to financial support for the firm’s corporate clients at a time when the UK is facing overwhelming pressure on the cost of living.
“The EGF was launched in March 2021 and is designed to provide access to flexible finance for exporting SMEs,” UK Export Finance said in a press release on Friday November 4. “This product has been a game-changer by unlocking almost £250 million in working capital loans.”
Virgin Money joins six other program lenders: HSBC, Santander, Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and Newable. His first project will see him back Oxfordshire-based Westminster Group, helping the company land new contracts to supply security X-ray machines to two airports in southern Africa.
The news comes days after reports that England’s four biggest banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander – saw a boost in income thanks to interest rate hikes by the country’s central bank. As PYMNTS reported, this has led some UK politicians to ask these lenders to pay a windfall tax to help narrow the country’s fiscal gap.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority last week also ordered 32 lenders to change the way they treat customers, with seven of those companies agreeing to pay 12 million pounds ($13.5 million) in compensation to nearly 60,000 customers.
“Given the current cost of living challenges, it is essential that the industry continues to learn lessons to ensure it supports struggling customers,” said Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumer and competition. of the FCA, in a press release. “We will take action to restrict or prevent businesses from lending to people if they fail to meet our requirements that consumers in financial difficulty be treated fairly.”
As PYMNTS reported, these challenges include food inflation hitting a record annual rate of 11.6% for October, leaving people to pay more for fresh food, as well as basic necessities such as tea, milk and sugar.
Over the past month, the UK’s GfK Consumer Confidence Index – which measures people’s overall financial condition and general feelings about the economy – has seen a near-continuous decline. In September, the index fell to an all-time low of -49, marking the fifth straight month in which the metric hit a new low.
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