Natwest director joins ART board

Help for small businesses seking expansion finance.

Steve Brown, Director of Business Banking for NatWest in Birmingham, has joined the board of ART Business Loans, maintaining the bank’s track record of supporting ART since its launch in June 1997.

“Not only was NatWest one of the founding investors in ART, which was a pioneer Community Development Finance Institution when it started, but they have always had a representative on our volunteer board,” says Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART Business Loans. “We are delighted that Steve has agreed to join the board just as the CDFI sector is reaching a critical stage in its growth and evolution.”

ART Business Loans lends in the West Midlands between £10,000 and £150,000 to businesses unable to access any or all of the finance they need from a bank. It saw a 77% increase in loans delivered in 2014-15, demonstrating that the demand for business finance in addition to bank lending is continuing to grow.

“A business may fail to meet the banks’ criteria for a variety of reasons,” says Steve Walker, “including that they have already borrowed as much as the bank is prepared to lend. We’re here to ensure that businesses with a viable proposition are not put at risk by being unable to access the finance they need. Our aim is to help them protect and create jobs in the West Midlands. To do this we often lend alongside partners, including the banks, to create a package of finance.”

Steve Brown, who heads a 14 strong business banking relationship management team, is looking forward to his new role. “ART’s sector of the market is new territory for me,” he says, “so getting to grips with the issues and helping ART to continue to grow and meet demand will be an interesting challenge. RBS/NatWest has been a champion of the community finance sector for over 20 years and was a founding partner of the Community Development Finance Association in 2002, so I am also looking forward to strengthening the links between the bank and ART in Birmingham and to helping shape the future of the sector.”

Find out more about loans from ART at or call 0121 359 2444.