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BCRS provides £33m boost to West Midlands economy, safeguarding thousands of jobs

Loan provider BCRS Business Loans added £33.7m to the West Midlands economy through its recent lending, according to an annual impact report.

Attendees at the BCRS AGM

Chief Executive Stephen Deakin updated members of the society at Wolverhampton Science Park on the co-operative business loan fund’s impact for the 2022-23 financial year and reaffirmed its commitment to lending responsibly to firms unable to borrow from traditional lenders.

As part of the AGM, BCRS formally launched its Impact Report for the 2022-23 financial year.

The lender’s social impact report for 2022-23 showed that it lent £6.5m to 72 businesses, safeguarding 999 jobs and creating 473 roles, adding £33.7m in value to the economy of the West Midlands and surrounding region.

The value statistics are calculated using the Responsible Finance Economic Impact Calculator, originally prepared by the Centre for Business in Society (CBIS) at Coventry University with assistance from James Medhurst at ICF International, with the support of Citi.

It was updated in 2019 following a review by Marc Cowling at Brighton Business School, Richard Roberts at Aston University and Steve Walker at the Aston Reinvestment Trust (ART).

Of the funding, 50 per cent went to the UK’s top 35 per cent most disadvantaged areas, with 16 per cent going to female-led businesses and 14 per cent to ethnic minority-led firms.

BCRS Business Loans work with companies to enable them to secure loans from between £10,000 and £150,000 to support growth and recovery plans.

Mr Deakin said: “I am very proud of these achievements.

"While 2022/2023 saw the country move out of major disruptions from Covid-19, the economic situation continued to be volatile and our support remained as crucial as ever.

“With cost-of-living pressures and inflation, it is a hard time to be an SME, so our support is vital.”

BCRS recently celebrated its 21st year in business and has lent more than £85 million to over 1,900 businesses, safeguarding over 6,300 jobs and creating over 3,000 more.

Mr Deakin added: “We are proud that half of this lending has been achieved in the last five years. Circumstances have been unprecedented, and outside pressures have been high, but we have continued to support businesses. Our message is simple: when times are tough BCRS steps up.”

Chair Paul Smee said: “It is hard not to feel positive and upbeat about BCRS and the role it plays in the community, the West Midlands and further afield.

“We have a solid track record on financial performance and a strong ethical drive to add value to all the communities we serve and the businesses we fund.

“BCRS has really good relationships with the key players in its sector and sets an example for other cooperative lenders to follow.

“We also have a great ability to learn and are committed to improving our performance. The team is constantly looking for new opportunities, but we will not lose sight of our roots and our core mission. I think BCRS has a lot to offer and a lot to look forward to.”

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