RBS/Natwest loans to sustain manufacturing recovery

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) figures have highlighted that manufacturing production rose for the first time in two years in the three months to January, and now a billion-pound fund has been launched to keep the sector buoyed up.

Representatives for RBS/NatWest say the loans are being made available following feedback from customers in the industry who are anticipating growing demand for their products during 2010 and beyond.

It marks the latest in a series of initiatives launched by the bank to support UK businesses, including an SME Customer Charter, a customer support helpline and a price promise and committed overdrafts for small firms.

Peter Ibbetson, chairman of business banking at NatWest and RBS, says firms will have the option to defer loan repayments for up to three years.

"As we see many of our manufacturing customers turning their thoughts to investment in order to drive competitiveness, we want to send a clear message of support to them by creating a fund that is designed specifically to enable that investment," he explains.

According to the CBI data, the boost to manufacturing output came as a rise in new expert orders offset weak domestic demand.

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