Lloyds Banking Group has '˜strong' lending pipeline for mid-market firms in Yorkshire

LLOYDS Banking Group has established a strong lending pipeline to mid-market businesses in Yorkshire, despite Brexit uncertainty, according to a senior figure.

Steve Harris of Lloyds Banking Group
Steve Harris of Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds has revealed that its net lending to Yorkshire businesses for the year to September 2017 was up by 3.3 per cent to around £1.5bn. This figure includes net lending of £250m to the region’s manufacturing sector.

Deposits reduced by three per cent to around £2bn, suggesting businesses are beginning to invest for growth, a Lloyds spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the group’s own research found that “inadequate investment” was one of the key obstacles preventing businesses from improving productivity.

The report, Understanding the Puzzle, also showed that the primary focus for firms’ investment plans was improving productivity, with respondents from the manufacturing industry highlighting the procurement of new machinery as a key way to achieve this.

The report found that most businesses understood that a lack of investment in skills, innovation and new technology were the biggest obstacles to improved productivity.

Steve Harris, the Yorkshire regional director for mid-market banking, said there was no silver bullet to make firms more productive.

He said productivity could be improved through a number of steps, such as changing management’s mindset and sharing best practice.

He added: “Our (lending) pipeline in the mid-market business is as strong as it has been for some time.”

Although he acknowledged that Brexit could cause uncertainty, he said Yorkshire firms were traditionally skilled at taking a creative and innovative approach.

Lloyds Banking Group has launched a £500 million growth fund which aims to support sectors where high-tech machinery and innovations like automation can help businesses to boost their productivity.