Natwest has closed the accounts of some UK SMEs who applied for COVID-19 loans

Natwest has closed the accounts of some of its UK SME customers business accounts who applied for the government’s coronavirus loans, meaning they are unable to access their money or trade.

A number of these SME owners contacted the Guardian to about their accounts being suspended or closed with no explanation after they put in their application for a government loan.

The Natwest Group, which changed its name from RBS last week, said the reasons for closing the accounts were valid.

However, these UK SMEs told the Guardian they had no issues and there was no reason for the accounts to be closed as they had been approved for loans and expected the money in to be in their accounts.

Banks have lent £12.2bn to 55,674 SMEs in the UK since the start of the CBILS scheme. They have also lent an additional £32.8bn in the last two months under the bounce back loan scheme, which offers small businesses goverment backed loans up to £50,000.

The Treasury is expected to enter into talks with lenders in a bid to tackle the billions of pounds of bad debts expected under the bounce back scheme.

The Office for Budget Responsibility recently warned that up to 40 per cent of the loans could default, which would cost the taxpayer £16bn.

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