The UK Export Finance (UKEF) announced that Virgin Money has been accredited under the export credit agency’s General Export Facility (GEF) programme, thereby enabling more businesses to access support for export finance.

Virgin Money will join six other lenders in the programme, which include HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest, Lloyds, and Newable.

According to UK Export Finance, Westminster Group, an Oxfordshire-based provider of security equipment and services worldwide, is the first business to benefit from a Virgin Money GEF.

Through the collaboration, Virgin Money will support Westminster Group to win new export contracts to deliver X-Ray security machines to two international airports in Southern Africa.

Virgin Money business networks head Sharon Ellis said: “Virgin Money is committed to supporting businesses with their growth ambitions at this key time for the economy.

“We are pleased to be fully operational with the General Export Facility in conjunction with UKEF, as it enables us to increase access to financial support for businesses like Westminster Group, which is a great example of our relationship teams and trade finance specialists working together to find exactly the right solution to meet the customer’s needs.”

Launched in March 2021, the General Export Facility is intended to give access to flexible finance for small and medium-sized (SME) exporters. The programme is claimed to have unlocked nearly £250m of working capital loans.

UK Export Finance interim CEO Samir Parkash said: “The General Export Facility provides vital hands-on government support to British small businesses.

“Since it was introduced last year it has unlocked almost £250 million of working capital loans and underpinned (the liquidity requirements of) hundreds of small businesses.

“We want more businesses to have access to this support from UKEF which is why I am delighted to announce that the clients of Virgin Money can now use the scheme.”

To be eligible for the financial support, applying businesses have to meet several criteria. Among them are showing that at least 20% of annual turnover in any one of the previous three fiscal years came from UK export sales, or that at least 5% of annual turnover in each of the previous three fiscal years came from UK export sales.