British Business Bank responds to National Audit Office Investigation into the accreditation of Greensill Capital

Press release 07 July 2021

The National Audit Office (NAO) has today published its report following its investigation into the British Business Bank’s accreditation of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited as a lender under the government’s Covid-19 emergency loan schemes.

The report finds that, in response to the policy need to ensure access to finance at pace during the pandemic, the British Business Bank (in consultation with BEIS and HMT) put in place a streamlined version of its established accreditation process. The NAO also found that the Bank appropriately and independently applied the accreditation process to Greensill Capital (UK) and that it treated Greensill Capital (UK)’s application like that of other similar applicants.

The Bank welcomes the conclusions that ‘the Bank demonstrated the independence of its decision-making’ and ‘it is to the Bank’s credit that it quickly picked up the loans allegedly in breach of the scheme rules’, as its monitoring process was designed to do. Catherine Lewis La Torre CEO, British Business Bank

The British Business Bank acknowledges, as the report does, that in the case of Greensill, applying a less streamlined process might have led the Bank to further question Greensill’s application. A less streamlined accreditation process would, however, have been lengthier, meaning that fewer lenders may have been accredited, and fewer businesses would have received the critical finance they needed.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, the British Business Bank was tasked with running the government’s delegated Coronavirus business loan schemes to achieve the policy direction of delivering access to finance at pace and at scale, through a diverse range of lenders. The Bank made over 170 lender accreditations across BBLS, CBILS and CLBILS, through which it delivered more than £75bn of essential financial support to over 1.6m businesses – more than 25% of the UK business population.

The Bank’s investigation into Greensill Capital’s potential breaches of the scheme rules for CLBILS is ongoing. Performance of the Guarantor’s obligations under the guarantee agreement remains suspended pending completion of the Bank’s investigation.

Further Information

Notes to editors

About the British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.

The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn Read footnote text 1  of finance to more than 93,000 smaller businesses Read footnote text 2 . Between March 2020 and March 2021, the British Business Bank was responsible for running the government’s Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering more than £75bn of finance to over 1.6m businesses.

As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale-up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty.

British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at