UK bankers will pledge support at first meeting of government's Small Business Forum

Leading UK banks are committed to helping the nation's businesses to weather the economic downturn, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) will tell the first meeting of the government's Small Business Forum today.

Trade minister Lord Mandelson will attend this afternoon's meeting with business leaders, hosted by the BBA, which will set out the 10 promises banks are making to their business customers.

Angela Knight, chief executive of the BBA, said the aim is to ensure that everybody pulls together to build up the strength of businesses to help them fight through the tough economic conditions.

Knight said that businesses can be confident that banks will listen to them. “The UK's banks want to see their customers flourish even in these testing times,” she said.

“We are determined to help our customers make the most of their businesses and part of that is to ensure they have access to finance as well as independent advice and help when times are tough. Businesses with good ideas need to be reassured that banks are listening and are working actively with them.”