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NatWest kickstarts green loans for SMEs

NatWest Group has become the latest commercial bank to launch a specialist loan proposition and asset finance offer to support SMEs with their sustainability ambitions.

The green loans offer aims to help businesses with a turnover of less than £25 million to finance eligible assets across four categories:

  • Clean buildings: Retrofits for commercial buildings and low carbon heating measures such as heat pumps
  • Clean energy: Renewable energy generation and energy storage systems
  • Clean transport: Electric vehicles
  • Agriculture: Renewable technology, forest restoration and conservation, marine and low emission management.

The new loans incur no arrangement feeds or early repayment charges, with borrowing options from £50,001.

In addition, NatWest now offers green asset financing from £25,000 for:

  • Electric cars or vans
  • Zero emission heavy commercial vehicles
  • Clean energy assets such as batteries, biomass boilers, monitoring and energy management systems, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, LED lighting, voltage optimisers, smart meters, solar panels, and more.

‘SMEs have a critical role to play’

The bank has also established a new Climate Hub and Sustainability Toolkit to provide tips, insights and tools to help SMEs act on climate change.

“Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges we face today, and SMEs have a critical role to play in helping the UK realise its green ambition,” said Paul Thwaite, CEO of commercial banking at NatWest Group. “The reality is that while SMEs want to help by reducing emissions, they face many barriers doing so such as [limited] access to information, funding and training.

“We’re working to remove these barriers with concrete actions - providing incentives, such as loans and asset financing that aim to support sustainability ambitions, and aim to benefit businesses whether they bank with NatWest or not.”

Green lending on the rise

NatWest is just the latest bank to begin offering specific finance mechanisms to SMEs for green investments, after HSBC launched its own £500 million Green SME Fund and Sustainable Assessment Tool in late 2021.

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