Brokers are arranging larger funding requests under the Recovery Loan Program (RLS) compared to its predecessors, but the demand for RLS loans is comparatively lower.

The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) annual member survey for 2021 found that the average RLS installment size was £539,281, more than double the size of typical loans for coronavirus business interruption granted in 2020.

However, NACFB members said engagement with the RLS was lower than expected, with just 11 trades per brokerage.

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Half of members said the main reason for reduced scheme activity was a lack of direct inquiries into the RLS, while 16% said their clients simply did not meet the scheme’s criteria.

The survey found that NACFB members helped create £40.9bn of borrowing by small and medium-sized businesses last year.

The average loan size was £458,582, up 17% a year and topping the 2019 figure of £450,145.

“The data proves what we in the industry have known for a long time, namely how vital the middleman-led route to market is for the UK’s 5.6 million SMEs,” said said Paul Goodman, president of the NACFB.

“The trade body continues to forge stronger and deeper cross-party relationships across government, as well as with the British Business Bank and the Bank of England.

“We will engage with any stakeholder who needs to know more about the essential work that NACFB members undertake.”

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