According to analysis in the report, RBS has around £250m in outstanding lending to the social sector, with nearly £50m in new lending over a year (Sept 2014 – August 2015).

If this level of lending was replicated across other banks, this would amount to over £3bn worth of social sector borrowing from mainstream banks compares to £427m per year from the ‘social investment market’. 

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said:

"Cabinet Office welcomes this pioneering work by RBS to examine the nature of its lending to social enterprises. The report is a valuable contribution to the debate on how to support the growth of organisations which seek to do well by doing good."

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS, said: 

“By opening up our books for the first time and commissioning this new research, we are trying to build a more holistic picture of the size and scale of the finance market that is serving the social sector.  There is a widespread perception that banks are reluctant to lend to social sector organisations. But we found that mainstream bank lending to the sector significantly exceeds lending from the social investment market.”

Nick Temple, Deputy CEO, Social Enterprise UK, said:

“At Social Enterprise UK, we have known for some time that access to appropriate finance is one of the key barriers and enablers for social enterprises of all sizes. This report is important in that context for two reasons. Firstly, it starts to build an evidence base that punctures the myth and opinion that social sector organisations are too risky for the mainstream. Secondly, it adds significantly to the picture we have of the overall social investment landscape, where the gaps might be and what is needed to address them. We therefore welcome this contribution and commend RBS for their leadership”.

Download the report [PDF 3.2MB]

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