The British Business Bank’s Sudden Decline – A Microcosm of Global Economic Unrest

Digital Zeitgeist – The British Business Bank’s Sudden Decline – A Microcosm of Global Economic Unrest

In the latest financial year, the state-owned British Business Bank (BBB) has reported a startling pre-tax loss of £147 million. The abrupt shift from profitability to loss vividly mirrors a wider pattern of economic downturns impacting both national and global markets. The lender points to an overarching economic malaise as the primary culprit behind a significant depreciation in the valuation of businesses it has invested in.


Despite these setbacks, the BBB announced £1.6 billion worth of funding agreements within the last fiscal year, articulating the efforts as a triumphant combat against a challenging economic milieu. Established in 2014, the BBB’s raison d’être is to extend loans to, and acquire stakes in, smaller UK businesses to propel their initial growth and subsequent expansion.


However, the bank has confessed to a £146 million decline (a 5% drop) in the valuation of its investments over the 12 months concluding at the end of March. In stark contrast, the prior year saw a gain of £619 million. This sharp fluctuation comes amidst a global trend where technology firms have seen their valuations plummet. The global investment community has grown cautious owing to escalating borrowing costs coupled with frail economic growth.


Despite these disheartening figures, BBB’s Chief Executive Louis Taylor remains optimistic, expecting a broader upward trajectory for the investments in a 10-year horizon, illustrating the bank’s long-term investment philosophy.


The BBB has notably exceeded its target, with its total funding now standing at £12.4 billion, reaching over 90,000 businesses. Excluding the administered Coronavirus loans, this figure overtakes the £10.7 billion target initially set. The bank had been the nexus for administering the government’s trio of Covid-19 loan schemes alongside its Future Fund, altogether channelling over £80 billion in finance to nearly 1.7 million businesses. However, these schemes have ceased to accept new applications.


Not without its share of controversies, the Future Fund attracted public and media scrutiny for investing taxpayer money in an array of companies including Bolton Wanderers Football Club and the risqué enterprise, Killing Kittens.


Furthermore, BBB’s Start Up Loans programme recently achieved a remarkable milestone of £1 billion in lending, with over half of this amount directed to small enterprises led by women and ethnic minorities. This initiative seeks to extend a lifeline to underrepresented demographics, often shunned by mainstream lenders, to foster entrepreneurship, particularly in regions beyond the prosperous London and southeast England.


In a radical departure from tradition, most of this funding emanates from lenders external to the UK’s predominant ‘big five’ banks.



The tale of BBB’s financial dip is emblematic of a larger narrative of economic vicissitudes besieging the global financial systems. It underscores a crucial lesson on the interplay between national and global economic frameworks. As nations grapple with internal economic distress, the ripple effects are palpable across the globe, affecting investor confidence and market valuations. The BBB’s performance is a stark reminder that fostering robust national financial institutions is imperative not just for domestic economic stability but also for engendering confidence in global markets amidst escalating geo-political and financial system challenges.


The onus is on policymakers, both in the UK and globally, to conceive and implement strategic measures aimed at fostering economic resilience, ensuring that pivotal institutions like the BBB can adeptly navigate through economic headwinds, ultimately contributing to a stable and prosperous global financial ecosystem.


The broader implications of such economic dynamics are profound. Global economies are inexorably intertwined, and as such, the health of national financial entities like the BBB is not merely a domestic concern, but a global one. Hence, a cogent understanding of these intricacies, coupled with proactive and informed policy-making, is paramount in navigating the complex landscape of today’s global financial system.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of GPM-Invest or any other organisations mentioned. The information provided is based on contemporary sourced digital content and does not constitute financial or investment advice. Readers are encouraged to conduct further research and analysis before making any investment decisions.