ROYAL Bank of Scotland has doubled its loan fund aimed at small firms in the leisure sector to £300 million after it attracted “incredible interest”.
RBS lent the initial £150m of its fee-free leisure fund in just 20 weeks, with 80 business in Scotland borrowing £32m.
Since the fund was launched at the end of May, RBS and English subsidiary Natwest have allocated more than 260 loans to firms across the UK, with the bulk of them – £90m worth – going to hotels, followed by pubs and restaurants.
During the same 20-week period year, RBS only lent £60m to leisure businesses.
Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for commercial banking, said: “From day one, this fund has attracted incredible interest.
“We listened to the needs of our leisure customers and designed the fund specifically to support the needs of this particular industry.”
Businesses that successfully borrowed from the fund include Perthshire-based hoteliers Scott Meikle and Stephanie Graham, who got a loan to buy the Moor of Rannoch Hotel.
Meikle said: “RBS has been fantastic from the beginning. Getting funding in today’s economic climate is challenging, but our relationship manager had confidence in us and our business plan and did everything he could to ensure the provision of the loan.”
Other Scottish businesses benefiting from the loan fund included the Fusion Group UK, which borrowed an undisclosed sum to turn Old Churches House in Dunblane into a boutique hotel, and Elgin-based Kaizen Kickboxing.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Ongoing investment in Scottish tourism is vital if we are to continue to punch above our weight in a highly competitive market.
“I am delighted to see so many businesses taking advantage of the leisure fund, particularly as we look forward to welcoming the world next year, when the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming combine for what is sure to be an unforgettable year for Scottish tourism.”