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A BANK executive was due to visit Portsmouth today to find out why more businesses aren’t borrowing.

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland business and commercial banking chief executive Ian Cowie said he wanted to let companies know it was once again safe to borrow.

‘We’ve been looking at new ways of lending to businesses in Southampton and Portsmouth and we’ve had some early success,’ he said.

‘We’ve launched a campaign to write to customers offering finance and we’ve now offered over £100m in total to almost 100 businesses.’

In July, NatWest and the RBS appointed Sir Andrew Large to head a review into the banks’ lending policies.

Sir Andrew said: ‘The general perception seems to be that SMEs aren’t happy with the availability of lending from their bank which is why we have launched an independent review into our lending policies.

‘It’s a hugely important part of my job to know what challenges SMEs are experiencing so we can help overcome those hurdles and deliver growth for the economy.’