March 25, 2020 / 9:30 AM / 13 days ago

UK government and Bank of England tell banks to keep lending

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - British banks must keep lending to businesses through the coronavirus crisis to ensure that previously viable companies do not fail, the government and Bank of England said on Wednesday.

In a joint letter to the chief executives of major banks, finance minister Rishi Sunak, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and the interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, Chris Woolard, urged lenders to support the economy.

"This will require a willingness to maintain and extend lending despite the uncertain economic conditions. We must ensure that firms whose business models were viable before this crisis remain viable once it is over," they wrote.

Banks were expected to support all types of firms, not just those covered by BoE and government schemes rolled out so far, they added. (Reporting by David Milliken Editing by William Schomberg)

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