The Birmingham Post Business Awards takes place next week, with banking giant Lloyds among the sponsors. Here, Steve Clarke, area director in the West Midlands at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, looks at the support available for businesses in the region

As we look ahead to our 250th anniversary in 2015, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking continues to be a leading provider of financial services to mid-market businesses in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.

Our success within the sector was reinforced when we were awarded our tenth successive Bank of the Year accolade at the prestigious FD’s Excellence Awards, a night which also saw local relationship director, Ian FitzJohn, becoming the first ever winner of the bank manager of the year award.

Ian is just one of the dedicated team based at our Colmore Row office, each of whom have worked closely with our clients throughout the year as we look to identify growth opportunities, and continue to provide access to funding as the economic recovery gathers pace.

A major part of our focus this year has been our continued participation in the Government-backed Funding for Lending scheme, helping businesses to benefit from a one per cent discount over the life of commercial loans.

We also recognise the important role that manufacturing companies play in the region, and continue our commitment to them through our pledge to lend an additional £4 billion to manufacturers until December 2017.

These schemes have enabled us to increase our rate of lending to mid-markets businesses in the West Midlands by four per cent, demonstrating our commitment to supporting firms, and helping them to realise their expansion plans without negatively impacting on their cash flows.

Through our approach of working in tandem with management teams at strong performing mid-market businesses, we have facilitated a number of significant funding deals over the last 12 months, providing tailored financial packages to help companies in the region to achieve their growth ambitions.

Among them are:

- A multi-million pound package supplied to leading automotive retailer, Brindley Garages, helping to fund the Wolverhampton-based firm's expansion, together with a garage refurbishment programme.

- A £20 million investment in Sertec, helping the Coleshill-based automotive manufacturer to increase its exposure to stamping exports in China, and bringing its total funding facility from Lloyds Bank to over £38million.

- A £62 million finance package for Bridgnorth Aluminium in Shropshire, driving the development, ongoing operation, and future expansion of its manufacturing plant.

- An investment of £4.5 million in the Redditch-based electronics manufacturer, Solid State, facilitating its plans for expansion and job creation by targeting new acquisitions.

- Supply of banking facilities to North Warwickshire Borough Council and Wyre Forest District Council, facilitated by Lloyds Bank’s specialist Education, Government and Communities team.

As the economy continues to recover, we are committed to supporting businesses in the region, and recognise that we must play our part in helping firms to achieve their aspirations.

Through our specialist teams, we will work with management of local firms to deliver specialist guidance, helping them to thrive by building a deep understanding of their business.