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LLOYDS TSB BUSINESS BOOSTS LOCAL SUPPORT FOR SMEs

300 more locally based business managers appointed

Lloyds TSB Business Banking is launching a dedicated small business service in around 90 additional high street locations across the country. The bank has also boosted the number of experienced business banking staff by appointing 300 more locally-based managers. This takes the total number of Lloyds TSB customer facing staff serving Britain’s SMEs to 3,000 across the bank’s 2,000 branches.

The move is an integral part of the bank’s new strategy which is to combine the best elements of traditional, locally based banking with a range of modern and innovative services to bring small business customers a more personal and accessible service. More importantly, Lloyds TSB has pledged that the move will enable every SME customer to see a business banker locally, face-to-face and free of charge.

The developments are in direct response to customer feedback and research which show that the most valued aspect of the business banking service is the interaction between customer and manager.

Stephen Pegge, head of communications, Lloyds TSB Business, says: "We’ve listened to our customers and built a new service to deliver the one-to-one contact they value. In a challenging economic climate it’s vital that SMEs have access to advice and support which is truly personal to their business. We’re committed to delivering the best business banking service in the country and are glad to see that customers are voting with their feet."

The key strands to Lloyds TSB’s new business banking approach are:

The personal approach;

- All SME business customers, no matter how small, now have their own business manager

- All customers can see locally based staff with knowledge of the local issues affecting their businesses

Access when customers need it;

- Enhanced online banking facilities allow SMEs access to their banking details 24/7

- New mobile banking service offers business customers daily or weekly SMS text updates on their balance status, with more functions available soon

Start ups;

- A new package of support available free of charge to business start-ups prior to their business banking account being opened

- Includes an invaluable business planning tool to help ensure a sound footing and the best possible start for new businesses

- Comprehensive information on everything from legal matters, taxation questions to personnel issues

Tariffs and fees to suit;

- 18 months free business banking for new start-ups or 6 months free for SMEs switching their account to Lloyds TSB Business

- Competitive tariffs which reflect the way customers choose to run their businesses:
- Standard tariff – charges a set amount for basic transactions and pays interest on credit balances
- Electronic business tariff – free automated and electronic transactions such as direct debits, standing orders, Company Payment Card (debit card) and internet payments in place of credit interest as long as the account is kept in credit with a minimum of £1

- Abolition of previous relationship fees of £10 and £50 per month. The account maintenance fee, which was previously £2.50 for most customers, is now £3 a month (after applicable free banking period). This charge already applies to those customers paying the electronic business tariff.

Lloyds TSB Business’s new service is being rolled out across the country in three phases1 and will be available nationwide. Initial feedback from a large scale trial earlier this year has been tremendously positive with customer service scores reaching a record high.

The new and enhanced offering marries the most valued aspect of the current proposition with a dynamic, personal approach to business banking. Popular aspects of the current service such as an ongoing nationwide series of facilitated business networking events will continue. At the same time, improved access to business banking services across the Lloyds TSB branch network is being backed by an investment of some £30 million this year alone.