Guide to borrowing

Available to

  • SMEs thinking of applying for finance for growth.
  • Businesses that have had applications declined.
  • How to apply
  • How to appeal
  • Request a referral
  • Sources of finance and comparison
How to apply

Before applying for finance, you should always consider what type of lending is the best option for your business, and whether you can afford to repay any money you borrow: we will assess your ability to repay before we make any decision.

Submitting your finance application

Applications require additional information and supporting documents, so always check what you need to supply with your application. The checklist below will help to ensure you have completed your application in full, in order to give us all the information we need to consider your request.

Outline what you need

  • State how much you would like to borrow – we need to quantify your request.
  • State why you would like the finance – so we can check it is for a suitable business purpose and decide which type of finance best suits your needs.
  • State how long you would like the finance for – we need to know the term of the loan to help assess affordability and ensure the right finance is suggested for your business needs.

Information you may need to provide

  • Business plan 
  • Cash flow forecast 
  • Historic accounts 
  • Management accounts 
  • Assets

Further information that will help your application

  • Profile of the owner and/or management team – this helps the bank assess your capabilities.
  • The owner’s investment in the business – this shows the owner’s investment relative to the bank’s proposed investment.
  • Whether or not security is available – this shows whether you have security to support your proposal.
  • Other business interests – this allows the bank to assess any other commitments you have.
Getting to know your business

Whether you’re a new business that needs start-up funding, or a growing company that needs the funds for expansion, any application for finance involves building up a picture of your personal and business circumstances combined with your financial history. This is a critical part of assessing the business and will often be used alongside your business plan and cash flow projections.

Read more about our commitments to our business customers and what we ask of you – the Standards of Lending Practice.

If your application is declined

If your application is declined, we will confirm the reasons why, in writing. Your relationship contact will talk with you and explain why your application has been declined, and they will discuss any alternative options with you. If you are unhappy with the decision that has been made, you have the right to appeal and you can talk to your relationship contact about how to go about this. Learn more on how to appeal.

How to appeal

If your finance application is turned down, don’t give up on funding you can appeal the decision or explore other options.

How do I appeal?

You can either submit the appeal directly to your relationship contact, or complete the Santander online appeal form accessible from Better Business Finance website. Your appeal form will be forwarded to Santander; and any information you supply will be subject to the data protection protocols. 

The appeals process

Appeals are dealt with promptly and taken seriously: when an appeal is raised, the decision will be reviewed by a second person from within the bank who was not involved in the original decision. Santander will consider all the information originally provided and ask for more where we think it is necessary. We don’t want to keep you waiting for a decision, which is why the result of the appeal will be communicated to you in writing within 28 days.

If lending is still declined after an appeal, Santander will provide information on alternative sources of finance that may be more appropriate or provide support in another form, such as putting you in touch with a business mentor.

Request a referral

If we decline your application, you have the right to request a referral within 30 days to a Government Designated Finance Platform who will seek to match your business’ needs with the most suitable lender for your circumstances. Learn more on how to request a referral.

Request a referral

If we decline your application, you have the right to a referral within 30 days to a Government Designated Finance Platform who, with your consent, will seek to match your business’ needs with the most suitable lender for your circumstances.

How to request a referral

You can request a referral within 30 days by calling 0800 681 6684. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Additional Information

As well as your right to be referred to a Government Designated Finance Platform, there are other sources of finance available which you may want to consider. You can get more information by visiting our alternative sources of finance page

Santander UK plc is not responsible for the finance platforms, so if you choose to be referred this does not mean that your application will be successful. Any lending decision made would be solely a matter for the lender(s) to whom you are referred. 

For the purpose of the referral Santander UK plc are acting as a credit broker and not as a lender and will not receive any commission.

Sources of finance and comparison

If we decline your application, you have the right to a referral within 30 days to a Government Designated Finance Platform who, with your consent, will seek to match your business’ needs with the most suitable lender for your circumstances.

How to request a referral

You can request a referral within 30 days by calling 0800 681 6684. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Additional Information

As well as your right to be referred to a Government Designated Finance Platform, there are other sources of finance available which you may want to consider. You can get more information by visiting our alternative sources of finance page. 

Santander UK plc is not responsible for the finance platforms, so if you choose to be referred this does not mean that your application will be successful. Any lending decision made would be solely a matter for the lender(s) to whom you are referred. 

For the purpose of the referral Santander UK plc are acting as a credit broker and not as a lender and will not receive any commission.