Barclays Partners with Propel to provide one million SMEs with speedy access to asset finance

Barclays Business Banking has today announced that it will be the first High Street bank to partner with Propel, a specialist asset finance provider, to offer equipment and vehicle finance via an online platform to one million of their small and medium sized (SME) customers.

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

The collaboration is the latest in a series of strategic Fintech partnerships announced by Barclays over the last few years, with Nimbla and MarketFinance offering invoice insurance and invoice financing products respectively to thousands of Barclays Business Banking clients.

A partnership in asset finance was chosen as it continues to be a vital source of funding for SMEs, particularly those that need to invest in a wide range of equipment to support their business activities, investment and growth. It enables SMEs to rapidly obtain business-critical equipment without the need to draw on cash reserves to pay for the assets upfront. They can spread out the cost over a number of years, and the finance is typically secured against the asset rather than additional business collateral.

In 2019, over £35.7 billion of finance was provided to businesses to support investment in new equipment. Businesses across all sectors can turn to asset finance to support investment in vital equipment to help them drive productivity and growth. Investment in both IT equipment and manufacturing sectors has remained strong throughout the pandemic.

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, CEO 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.

“Working closely with Barclays’ network of around 1,100 UK Relationship Managers and one million 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 £10 billion 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.

For more information, Barclays SME clients can visit www.barclays.co.uk/business-banking/borrow/asset-finance/ and call 02476 842 200.

Case Study

Peter Georgiou, founder and CEO of Supper, a high-end takeaway delivery service in London which recently financed a fleet of new bikes through Propel, said: “Following the lockdown period, our business went through the roof. We went from 1000 deliveries a month, to 10,000, and our business is currently up 600 per cent from last year. However, it’s been a double-edged sword; we were spending money to expand the business but, with investors dropping off due to these being difficult times, we were left without funding.”

“Our Barclays relationship manager was instrumental in setting up our asset finance deal and – testament to the teams at Barclays and Propel – the money was in my account within a week. Working with both companies has been seamless and the funds have enabled us to meet the growing demand from our customers.”

ENDS