Project Merlin figures almost £1bn down
The largest banks in the UK are almost £1 billion behind lending targets for small business.
Figures for the Project Merlin agreement to the end of September show Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC and Santander UK lent £56.1bn to SMEs.
This means they will have to advance £19.9bn in the final three months of the year to hit the £76bn promised.
However the banks are on course to beat the £190bn promised tot all businesses after hitting £157bn in the first nine months of 2011.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The banks have agreed to lend £76 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises this year and I will be monitoring their performance against this target particularly closely."
In recent trading updates Santander UK said it had lent £1.7bn to SMEs in the first nine months, Barclays £11bn, RBS £10.4bn, and Lloyds £9.6b.
HSBC said it was £38 million off its Merlin targets but did not give a breakdown.
A spokesman for the Merlin banks said: "The first nine months performance demonstrates the banks' commitment to providing businesses with the financial support they need to invest and grow and the significant progress made since February this year.
"However, the overall economic environment remains challenging and business demand remains weak."