Santander signs up to twin drive to boost UK's exporters

ONE of Britain's big five banks has thrown its weight behind the government's new twin initiatives to bolster the country's business exporters.

Santander's corporate banking division said yesterday it had signed up to the government's new bond support scheme and the Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee.

Bonds and guarantees are used to safeguard payment to businesses against possible failure by a supplier or contractor to fulfil their contractual obligation.

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A spokesman for Santander - which has acquired Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley's branch business in the UK in the past seven years - said: "The Export Credits Guarantee Department's (ECGD] newly-launched bond support scheme enables Santander and ECGD to share the credit risk thereby, where possible, helping Santander increase the amount of bonds and guarantees it underwrites for its UK commercial and corporate customers."

In addition, Spanish-owned Santander said it would now be offering extra short-term trade finance to smaller exporters as part of the government-backed Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee.

Under this scheme, companies with a turnover of up to 25million, but which lack the usual security requirements, can apply for finance of up to 1m for up to two years.

Steve Pateman, head of Santander's corporate and business banking arm, said: "Exporters play a fundamental role in securing the UK's economic recovery, so it is crucial that they are able to access the finance they need."

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