Small firms secure £2bn in bounce-back loans in first 24 hours Small businesses have more than 69,000 government-backed loans worth in excess of £2bn in the first 24 hours of the scheme’s launch. The number represents 53% of the 130,000 applications lodged by businesses trying to access cheap funding through the Bounce-Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which launched last Monday morning as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 lockdown. The government-backed loans are worth up to £50,000, capped at 25% of a firm’s turnover, at an interest rate of 2.5%. Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the FSB, said despite a “promising start” for the bounce-back scheme, some firms were still reporting difficulties. He said: “Many of the most vulnerable business owners - particularly sole traders - only have personal banks accounts and, as a result, are being told they cannot access a bounce-back loan. It’s vital that they are helped to secure the finance on which many will depend to make it through this incredibly challenging time”. It is also reported that if a business does not have an account with one of the accredited lenders they face a long wait. Mr Cherry added that alternative lenders should be signed up rapidly to improve the reach of the scheme.