By Daniel Hunter

Four new lenders have been accredited to offer loans to small businesses under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme, the Government announced today (Thursday).

The EFG gives vital funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lack the collateral or credit history to secure a normal bank loan.

The four new accredited lenders are:

• Metro Bank

• Hull Business Development Fund

• Black Country Reinvestment Society

• MSIF (providing finance to SMEs in Merseyside)

The Government has also announced a new accreditation round which will open on 1 March 2012, and is inviting lenders to apply for accreditation to offer EFG loans.

“If businesses are to start, thrive and grow they must have access to the finance they need, and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee gives more firms the chance to get vital funding. These four new lenders will help widen access to this successful scheme even further," Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said.

“The Government has committed to guaranteeing £2 billion of loans over the four years to April 2015, and we are now opening another accreditation round to encourage even more lenders to offer these loans. The scheme has already supported more than 16,000 businesses and we can support many more.”

As announced in November, EFG is now available to businesses with up to £41m annual turnover and seeking up to £1m worth of loans, subject to eligibility. Further information and advice is available to businesses online via www.businesslink.gov.uk.

This year the Government is running the Business in You campaign to encourage more people to start or grow their business throughout 2012 using a range of existing support services, including the EFG. More information is available at businessinyou.bis.gov.uk.

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