On Monday the British government launched the 100% guaranteed Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL). The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the loan will allow small businesses to borrow up to 25% of their turnover from 2019, up to a maximum of £50,000.
But thousands of businesses customers are still unable to access their online accounts to apply for the guaranteed loan.As of 4pm on Tuesday Barclays Bank claimed that they have approved 32,000 loans, but angry customers are still complaining the system is not working.
The business loan scheme is set up so that their customers are to be paid within just 24 hours, but many customers are still waiting for the money.
It has been claimed that Barclays Bank are quietly “opening up business applications alphabetically.”
Hundreds of people have complained on Twitter showing screenshots from the bank, that the Bounce Back loan application page reads, “something went wrong, please try again.”
Simon Arnold, who owns a global telecoms business has had significant impact from coronavirus, with revenue expected to fall by 60% on revenue for March 2020.
Arnold told LondonLovesBusiness on Wednesday, “I have been attempting to log onto Barclays for the bounce back loan since 9am, on Monday.
“I have made multiple attempts over 2 days both inside and outside hours, all resulting in a message ‘error – We are experiencing high demand please try again’ including comments to try different browsers, but all to no avail.
“Today [Wednesday] it is a new message saying that I may not be able and I am seeing this page if my account needs dual signatory’s [Which it does no] or if my information is out of date [Which it is not]
“I have seen that someone has stated that Barclays have a problem and are opening up applications alphabetically, my company is WorldNet so I have no hope.
“I will continue efforts however, when this is over, I am forced to consider a move away from Barclays after more than 15 years at the bank”
In response to out questions, a Barclays Bank spokeperson told LondonLovesBusiness, “We’re sorry that some customers are having trouble applying for a Bounce Back Loan on our website and may be receiving an error code.
“We require additional information from some customers in order to complete their application, and will be updating our webpage soon with further details.”
The spokesperson added, that the “alphabet” theory is not accurate.
Alastair said on Twitter, “Barclays have put out a lot of info on how many applications they’ve had for the Bounce Back Loan scheme, but their systems have crashed for thousands of customers and they are refusing to admit there’s an issue.
“Take a look at the Barclays UK Help twitter account and you’ll see hundreds of people who are just getting error screens with no response from Barclays other than to try a different browser.”
Another Barclays customer, called Nick, who runs an oil and gas technology consultancy, told the BBC that he started trying to apply for a Barclays loan at 8am on Monday, but has still not been able to.
He said, “I feel incredibly pressured. I have people crying their eyes out,’ he said. ‘The bulk of my people are at home.
“There are serious mental health issues with the worry about livelihoods and food.”
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Barclays Bank said, “Over the last 24-hours we have approved thousands of Bounce Back Loans to get hundreds of millions of pounds into the hands of small businesses.
“Since we went live yesterday, the vast majority of our customers have been able to apply online and get same-day approval so that we will have the funds in their account by tomorrow at the latest.
“There are some exceptions where customers will need to confirm additional details and we’re reaching out to them shortly to confirm next steps.”
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said, “The BBLS has come out of the blocks strong – enabling £2bn of small business lending in its first day, a sum that took its predecessor loan scheme weeks to achieve.
“Given the nature of this initiative, and the sheer volume of day one applicants, it was always going to be led by the big four in its early phase.
“From here though, it’s important that efforts to increase competition in the small business banking market are maintained. More banks and alternative lenders need to be accredited to the BBLS. The Treasury, British Business Bank and Bank of England should work together on how this can be best achieved.
“Unfortunately, we are hearing reports that bounce back application forms are hard to access or enquiries are simply being acknowledged with a “we’ll call you” message and nothing further.
“Many of the most vulnerable business owners – particularly sole traders – only have personal banks accounts and, as a result, are being told that they can’t 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.
“All in all it’s a very promising start, but there’s still work to do.”