Your complete guide to CBILS lenders available today

Last updated May 28st

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme, or CBILS, isn’t easy to understand. This guide spells out everything you need to know, in one place. It gives a simple overview of the five types of lender – from High Street banks to specialists – and then explores each in more detail, including the different ways you can access funding through them. We’ve also summarised key information in handy charts and graphics to help navigate the maze.

Please note: CBILS loans generally start at £50,001. if you’re looking to borrow less than that, you may also be eligible for the new Bounce Back loan scheme. If you already have a CBILS loan, you can transfer it to BBLS if it’s less than £50,000.

Your CBILS options – a summary

As of May 28th, there were 80 accredited CBILS lenders. In practice, however, most businesses will only be eligible for a few. Let’s start with an overview of who they are, by type.

Information correct as of 28th May

Now, let’s break down the differences between each of the lenders. Click on the orange text to jump to the relevant section.

There are over 25 banks with CBILS accreditation, ranging from household names like RBS, Barclays and HSBC, through to those with either regional or specialist customer portfolios such as Clydesdale or Coutts. A few banks are still working on launching their CBILS service.

Only nine banks are currently offering CBILS loans to new customers, and even this group are focused on their existing customers.

Regional lenders
19 of the CBILS accredited lenders have a specific regional focus, so if you live somewhere else, you can’t apply. The good news is that most of the UK is covered by at least one of these lenders. Some areas have more than one.

Specialist lenders
Other solutions are available from companies that specialise in secured lending, including Asset Finance and Invoice Finance. Some of these are offering CBILS-backed loans for less than £50,000.

Digital (Alternative) lenders
Digital lenders have data and technology-led processes that allow them to make lending decisions rapidly. Funding Circle was the first digital lender to be added to the scheme. They have now been joined by others, including Iwoca and Liberis.

Lenders currently not accepting applications
There are a number CBILS accredited lenders who, while accredited, are not accepting applications. That’s because they are either preparing to do so, or currently don’t have funds to lend out to businesses.

So what does it take to apply through each of these five routes? Let’s dive into the detail, starting with your existing bank.


1. Accessing CBILS funding through your own bank

If you are banking with one of the large banks including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds/Bank of Scotland, NatWest/RBS, Santander, Clydesdale, Yorkshire Bank or TSB, it makes sense to approach them.

You should be able to find details of the application process on the Business Banking pages of their website. It may involve completing an online form or contacting your relationship manager, if you have one.

The CBILS solutions banks are providing vary significantly, so understanding what your bank offers before setting out to apply for funding is essential. The chart below outlines the different banks’ current offers, and whether they are open to new customers.  

Information correct as of 20th April. Now all banks have the same minimum threshold of £50,001, although some are choosing not to offer funding at that level. Starling and Cynergy are now lending, and Paragon is launching soon.

Is your turnover at least £2 million, or do you have access to a bank relationship manager?
If your business has a dedicated relationship manager – typically offered to businesses with at least £2 million turnover – this person or team are a good first point of call. All banks have focused on ensuring that relationship managers have the tools at their disposal to help businesses.

As a result, most of the CBILS lending made available to date has been arranged through relationship managers. The typical amount of funding arranged this way has been £200,000 or more, but this can vary significantly.

To apply for CBILS funding you will still have to work through a substantial amount of form filling, but it is worth exploring this route.

Does your business use bank branches, online banking and bank call centres?
We recognise that most businesses with turnover of less than £2 million do not have access to a relationship manager. If your business is serviced through a call centre or branch, you may well have experienced difficulties in getting in touch with your bank. That’s because call centres are dealing with massive volumes of enquiries, and many branches are closed.

As a result, many customers have asked us if it’s worth persevering with their bank, or if it’s better to explore other options. We can’t answer that question – but we can help you understand the banks’ lending criteria so you can determine the best path forward.

In short, we know that the basic approach to assessing applications is the same as usual, so if you’re a business with a good track record, you may be able to access funds. This means that banks are continuing to provide funding to businesses that would have been able to access funding prior to the crisis. But if your business was not eligible for bank finance before the crisis, it is not likely that your bank will be able to provide CBILS funding now. You may want to consider the Bounce Back Loan scheme instead.


2. Accessing CBILS lending through another bank

If you’ve not been able to get funding from your bank, or you are not banking with one of the large banks, some customers are asking us if it makes sense to go to another bank. Our view is that as large banks have similar lending criteria, you are unlikely to be successful.

If you do decide to pursue this route, at present the only major banks offering CBILS loans to new customers are Barclays and RBS/NatWest, as well as three banks in Northern Ireland: Danske, Ulster Bank and the Bank of Ireland. However, you may need to open a bank account with them first. A few banks including Starling are offering CBILS funding to new customers.

Bank contacts
If you want to continue with a bank application for CBILS, the links below will take you to their websites. Please bear in mind though that not all accredited banks are ready to provide loans.


3. Accessing CBILS lending through accredited regional lenders

As of May 1st, 15 regional lenders have been accredited to CBILS. Most have relatively small operations that would normally support a few hundred funding requests per month. As part of Funding Xchange’s application journey, we can confirm your eligibility for these lenders.

Here’s a more detailed overview:

To find out more and to contact regional lenders directly, please try one of the links below:


4. Accessing CBILS lending through accredited specialist lenders

The British Business Bank has also accredited over 20 specialist lenders. They provide finance that is focused on niche types of business, or secured either against physical assets such as machinery, equipment or vehicles, or against unpaid invoices with your business or customers in the public sector.

The chart below explains in more detail:

Last updated May 1st

To find out more, or to contact specialist lenders directly, please find links below:

Please note that Aldermore and Haydock Finance are only accessible via brokers.



5. Accessing CBILS lending through digitally enabled lenders

There are now seven accredited lenders who can be classified as digital.

The first is Funding Circle, who have unsecured lending solutions of up to £250,000 available. They have since been joined by Iwoca, Fleximise, Capital on Tap, White Oak, Liberis and Market Finance. You can access them by clicking the link below.



Lenders currently closed to new business

There are also three lenders accredited by the British Business Bank for CBILS loans, but are not taking part in the scheme.

Please help us keep this page up to date
The CBILS scheme is still evolving quickly and lenders are launching new solutions all the time. Our team is doing everything we can to stay on top of the changes. We would love your help. If you’ve seen anything in this article that could be updated, please get in touch. It means other business owners can benefit from the insights you share with us! Please get in touch at: