The UK’s department for international trade has teamed up with major banks to kick start a new online Directory of Exporters to help link UK companies with global buyers as part of bigger plans to get digitised.

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander have agreed to back the government’s drive to populate the directory, which potential global customers can search to find UK companies that are ready to supply the products and services they need.

Business customers of the five banks will be encouraged to join the directory to promote themselves in global markets.

The agreement, which was made today, also includes measures to help the UK track progress in exports more closely, with banks pledging to work with the government on quarterly data.

The department was unable to comment on the exact data that it plans to collect but said together with the directory it would allow it to leverage digital channels more . Further details of the service are expected to be revealed as the offer develops in advance of its launch in November.

“This is a great new initiative which I believe will fundamentally change the way businesses export,” says minister for international trade, Lord Price.

The initiative was welcomed by chairman of Barclays corporate banking Kevin Wall: “We’ve been a strong supporter of UKTI’s efforts and believe this new export directory will provide a practical and effective new way of connecting buyers and sellers together.”