social impact report & annual statement

The SME Finance Charter

Helping SMEs through Brexit.

BEF support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) businesses throughout the North of England with the flexible finance they need to start, grow and flourish.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy. They account for 99.9% of the business population (5.9 million businesses), three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector*.

That’s why BEF are proud to have signed up to the SME Finance Charter, a voluntary agreement that shows how UK lenders plan to support their business customers.  By signing the SME Finance Charter, BEF commit to and confirm that:

We’re open for business and ready to lend

In the last 15 years, BEF has delivered £70m of support to the region’s SMEs. Today, our funding portfolio includes loans for start-ups, growing businesses and a new short-term loan of up to £100k for businesses who require immediate support with cash flow, asset purchase or business development.

This is supported by our first social impact fund to facilitate growth in under supported areas within the North.

Our loan products are available to business customers not supported by mainstream lenders. 

We’ll help you prepare for Brexit and beyond

BEF provides flexible funding to help you prepare for Brexit. Our flexible finance products are complimented by advice and guidance from partner organisations. We continue to monitor Brexit progress, the market and how best we can support you throughout the Brexit process. We are open to introducing new flexible funding products as the need arises. 

We’ll support your application and signpost other options if needed

BEF will work closely with you to ensure you always receive the best possible service. Our online portal makes using our services quick and easy. If we are unable to support you directly we will signpost you to alternative lenders. 

We’ll treat you fairly at all times

BEF is a Responsible Finance Provider regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and complies fully with the core principles of Treating Customers Fairly and Responsible Lending. Our commitment is detailed in our Treating Customers Fairly pledge. As a Responsible Finance Provider, we are bound by the Responsible Finance Code of Practice

We’ll work with the government-owned British Business Bank (BBB) to support SMEs

We work closely with the British Business Bank. We are an official delivery partner for the Start Up Loans Company and a microfinance fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) in Yorkshire, Humber and Tees Valley. In addition, we offer the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, which can help you secure a loan or overdraft even if your business lacks security.