Amazon has revealed that it has lent over 3 billion US dollars to small businesses on its marketplace, through a programme named Amazon Lending. Started in 2011, the idea is to allow small businesses to grow on its platform. However, a recent announcement has shown a sharp increase in lending levels. In 2016, Amazon Lending had shared 1.5 billion US dollars with vendors. However, CEO Jeff Bezos announced recently that that amount has risen to 3 billion US dollars, with 1 billion being given to businesses in just the past 12 months. This sudden increase in spending could signify a shift in the way in which the company is investing in its merchants. The system also benefits consumers who may see lower prices on account of merchants being able to offer cheaper prices on items bought from manufacturers in larger numbers. Merchants cannot apply for the loan however, but will be invited by Amazon if they are judged to deserve it.