HSBC is providing £4bn through its newly-created international SME fund to help UK small businesses trade globally and with new markets.

The £4bn funds will be available in the coming weeks, Alan Keir, HSBC group managing director, global head of commercial banking, confirms.

“HSBC is committed to increasing lending to UK SMEs in 2012 and the launch of the new fund highlights specific support to help SMEs to grow through global trade activity. Tapping into the new opportunities and considering partners outside of British borders is just one tactic for businesses competing on a global stage,” Keir adds.

HSBC’s net lending to UK SMEs grew by 4% year-on-year, despite the UK market shrinking over the same period by 6%. The bank provided lending of over £49bn to UK businesses last year, whilst at the same time increasing lending to SME’s by 15% year-on-year, HSBC says.

HSBC is playing its part in growing the UK economy, in 2011 UK exports rose 13% and over the same period the bank’s export-related business grew by 33%, which trade finance lending underpinning exports grew by 91%.

UK exports to China and to India grew by 21% and 37% respectively in 2011 and HSBC estimates that it processed around one third of these by value.