Help applying for finance

Unsuccessful lending applications and referrals

Banks play a key role in supporting smaller businesses to do what they do best – driving economic growth and creating jobs. They are committed to responsible lending, putting the interests of their customers first and supporting the UK’s economy.

Lenders approve most SME lending applications. However, they have an obligation to lend responsibly and there are times when an application does not meet their lending criteria, for example on the grounds of affordability or past credit history.

Sometimes a bank may decide the business is best suited to a type of finance that it does not provide. In other cases, it may make an offer that is different to the amount and type of finance applied for and the business chooses not to accept.

If you have made an unsuccessful application for finance from your bank, your options are:

1. Appeal

If you’ve applied and have been turned down, you can lodge an appeal here. You need to submit your appeal within 30 days of the original application and you will need to meet certain eligibility conditions which are explained on the above link. The following banks are part of the appeals process:

  • AIB (including First Trust Bank)
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclays (including Barclaycard)
  • Danske Bank
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Bank (including AMC)
  • RBS / NatWest (including Ulster Bank)
  • Santander
  • TSB Bank
  • Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank)

2. Get a referral to government-designated platforms

In the event of an unsuccessful application, the bank is obliged to offer the business a referral to the government-designated online finance platforms, subject to eligibility. These platforms will seek to help you find a suitable provider that may be willing to offer the finance you need. Download this factsheet (you’ll need to register on the UK Finance website).

Also take a look at our information about Responsible Finance providers (Community Development Finance Institutions) which specialise in providing affordable finance to businesses which can’t get finance they need from banks.

3. Try the Better Business Finance Finder

If you’ve applied unsuccessfully to your bank for any business finance, you can access impartial information and support via UK Finance and Finpoint’s Better Business Finance Finder.

Whether your business is starting out, seeking finance to grow or exporting abroad, it can assist in helping you find suitable finance from the UK’s largest panel of providers.