Unity Trust Bank to triple lending to charities

Rise in percentage of successful applications

Social lender Unity Trust Bank expects to almost triple its lending to charities and social enterprises in 2009 compared with the previous year.

The bank said that it lent £17.7m to charities in 2008, but had already lent £33.4m so far in 2009.

A spokesman said that if funds lent but not yet drawn down were included, that amount would rise to more than £50m by the end of the year.

He said third sector organisations were increasingly turning to specialist lenders because they could not access finance from high street banks.

John Brooks, sales and marketing director at Unity Trust Bank, said that another key factor in the increase was a marked rise in both the willingness and the ability of third sector organisations to take on loans.

"There's more professionalism in the sector now," he said. "With that comes the skill to look at new possibilities."

He said this was reflected by the rising percentage of successful applications, with 90 per cent of applicants successful in 2009 compared with 84 per cent in 2008.

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