Esme Loans, NatWest’s standalone digital lending platform for SMEs is being wound up as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the UK’s small business community.
Launched as a pilot by NatWest in early 2017, Esme Loans offered an alternative financing option to SME clients looking for faster, unsecured business loans for a wide range of business purposes, in addition to its range of conventional loan options.
The bank has put considerable effort into the initiative, which is open to loan applications up to £ 250,000. Earlier this year, it posted 300% growth by partnering with Ezbob to use Open Banking data and advanced analytics to streamline the application process and reduce costs.
However, activity appears to have weakened under the overwhelming effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on its SME customers.
The bank reported the closure of the Esmea Loans website: “Esme Loans is in the process of being closed and is not accepting any new loan applications. Businesses who currently have a loan with us are unaffected by this decision and can still log into their dashboard as usual.
“The team will continue to serve current clients and are always happy to speak to clients, brokers and partners to answer all of their questions.”