Banking major HSBC is pledging £650 million to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland as firms attempt to navigate Brexit.
Britain’s biggest bank said it had launched a Scotland lending fund as part of a wider £14 billion package for SMEs across the UK.
Since launching the dedicated fund in 2014, the group has committed more than £60bn to UK SMEs as part of its commitment to “help British businesses innovate, evolve and grow”.
HSBC said that the 2019 fund included increased ring-fenced pots for international businesses as well as the agriculture sector.
Mike Hemingway, HSBC UK’s regional business banking director for Scotland, said: “The launch of this year’s fund shows our commitment to support the growth aspirations of SMEs across Scotland, from Stranraer to Shetland.”
As part of last year’s SME fund, the bank provided a seven-figure funding package to Edinburgh-based Pickering’s Gin, enabling the firm to export its gin-filled baubles to the US for the first time.
HSBC also provided a fifth-generation farm in Fife, A Milne and Sons Farm, with £500,000 in funding to purchase the equipment needed to produce local craft malt for Scottish brewers and distillers.
Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking at HSBC UK, added: “Our SME fund will help companies seize new opportunities for growth at home and overseas.
“We’ve always supported ambitious businesses, and we see it as our responsibility to be there for our customers whether conditions are benign or challenging.”
Meanwhile, Barclays is to hold scores of so-called 100 Brexit clinics to give support to its customers. The events will be held throughout October and November, with the first wave focusing on agriculture and manufacturing.