HSBC will launch a new $5bn (3.4bn) working capital fund today for small and medium sized businesses around the world to ensure they have access to credit during the current economic crisis.
Michael Geoghegan, HSBC's chief executive, said 1bn of the fund will be dedicated to small businesses in the UK, with the balance spread around the globe. "This is a difficult time for business in many economies," Mr Geoghegan said. "Customers are rightly looking to see how banks can help. Small companies are the lifeblood for most economies and it is their success that will create economic growth."
The fund will lend to companies with turnovers of up to 25m to provide them with working capital to help with cash flow needs and support those which trade, or want to trade, overseas. It will be greeted with relief by the Government which has been trying to push Britain's banks to lend more to small businesses and is looking at various proposals to kick-start lending to the sector.
Starting with the 1bn fund in the UK, HSBC will extend the capital to Hong Kong and then through its branch network in 65 countries. Paul Thurston, the head of HSBC's UK operations, said the fund shows the bank wants to support its customers whose continued growth will help to …