U.K. challenger bank Starling Bank continues to revamp its small business lending strategy with the launch of proprietary SMB loan services, the company announced on Monday (Jan. 13).
An announcement on Starling's website revealed that the bank is introducing unsecured loans of up to £250,000 (about $325,000) for businesses that have been trading for at least 18 months. The company also announced an increase in overdraft limits from £10,000 (about $13,000) to £150,000 (about $195,000), which changes its effective annual rate (EAR) to a tiered system of between 5 and 15 percent.
Starling also announced the introduction of paid features for small businesses and sole traders. While the bank will continue to offer free accounts, clients can now opt-in to premium paid features from Starling's Business Toolkit offering, which include invoice tracking, cash flow management, tax and VAT services, and more.
"Life as a small business owner can be a bit of a balancing act, and time is often in short supply," said Starling Bank Founder and CEO Anne Boden in a statement. "We've built a range of new features in the Business Toolkit to help save entrepreneurs time and money, while at the same time cutting down on paperwork and hassle. Our loans and overdrafts will be particularly helpful for businesses that rely on working capital, but may have gaps in their cash flow across the month or for a period of months."
She added that Starling is approaching 100,000 business accounts.
Starling Bank first announced early last year that it would commence small business lending services. In September, the company revealed plans to introduce a web portal as well as third-party small business lending services through the Starling Marketplace. At the time, the company also signaled plans to introduce VAT management and invoicing services to its small business clients.