HSBC has added another £2bn to the £14bn pot of its small business loan fund, which it launched this time last year.
The bank says the increased fund is part of its British small and medium-sized businesses navigate Brexit and help them grow.
According to HSBC’s own research, 28pc of businesses have done nothing to prepare for Brexit.
Since launching its initial SME Fund in 2014, HSBC has committed more than £60bn to UK SMEs.
This year’s fund, which is HSBC’s largest to date, includes increased ring-fenced pots for international businesses and for the agriculture sector because they were both fully utilised last year.
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The amount of money ring-fenced for companies that want to grow overseas has been doubled to £2bn, while the agriculture pot has increased to £1 billion from £300 million last year.
Almost one fifth (19pc) of businesses surveyed by HSBC have looked at opportunities to trade outside of the EU after Brexit.
Regional allocations across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland ensure that companies throughout the country can benefit the fund.
HSBC was unavailable to say how much of last year’s £12bn small business loan fund allocation has been deployed and to how many companies.
Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking at HSBC UK, said: “This £14 billion fund will help UK companies seize new opportunities for growth at home and overseas.
“We’ve always supported ambitious UK businesses, and we see it as our responsibility to be there for our customers whether conditions are benign or challenging.
“This year’s record fund is therefore part of a broader range of initiatives that we have in place to support British business as they navigate Brexit in a fast-changing world.”
Treasury secretary John Glen added: “SMEs are crucial to our economy and this lending fund will help more businesses to access the finance they need as we get ready to leave the EU.”
Jane Galvin, HSBC UK head of corporate banking – Q&A