Lloyds should be forced to lend to SMEs

Nia Williams

October 12, 2010

This is according to William Chase, the founder of Tyrrells Crisps and Chase Vodka, who said: “How can Lloyds join in on the stubbornness of the rest of the banks and not provide loans to SMEs, when it’s 41% tax-payer owned?”

Having sold 75% of Tyrrells Crisps to a private equity firm for £40m in 2008, Chase himself is financially secure and not in need of assistance. He also has a mixed history with the banks that now comprise Lloyds Banking Group. In 1993 he was bankrupted by Lloyds for £100,000, while 14 years later he won a Sunday Times Corporate Entrepreneur Challenge that came with a prize of a three-year, £5m interest-free loan from HBOS (now part of Lloyds Banking Group). This loan helped Chase establish his award-winning Chase vodka, made from the same Herefordshire potatoes as his crisps.

“David Cameron has a duty to make state-owned Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds TSB and HBOS) lend to small to medium-size businesses at favourable rates,” said Chase. “It can’t just be take, take, take. Everyone is tightening their belts and something has to be given back to businesses.

“The French government have got the banks lending to SMEs, the life-blood of the economy, especially assisting with exports. Why can’t Cameron do it with Lloyds Banking Group, which is virtually owned by the tax payer? Cameron needs to prove his worth and get the bank he owns working harder for British SMEs.”

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