Sky News reports that the five biggest lenders in the nation - HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander UK and Lloyds Banking Group - were unable to pass the first major test they have faced under the Project Merlin agreement with the coalition government.
The news agency noted the institutions lent Â£16.8 billion to SMEs during the first quarter of 2011, while also narrowly missing another target that was based on overall business lending.
Reporter Mark Kleinman said the SME figure represents a shortfall from the Â£19 billion aim of 11 per cent.
The data has been put together by PricewaterhouseCoopers and is due to be released by the Bank of England next week.
Speaking recently to the Financial Times, outgoing BNP Paribas chairman Michel Pebereau said it would be a mistake if the UK was to over-regulate its banks.
By Asim Shah