As of today, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CBILS”) is now available to SMEs, being those with turnover of less than £45m. Whilst the scheme is being managed by the British Business Bank, it is now apparent that businesses must approach banks directly to access the facilities. In the first instance, businesses are advised to contact their business bank to understand what might be available to them, but this doesn’t prohibit businesses from contacting other banks if necessary. A list of the participating banks can be found here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/
Further details have also been published regarding the type of lending facilities available, and this includes:
- Term loans;
- Asset finance; and
- Invoice finance.
The British Business Bank’s “FAQs for SMEs” and “Quick Eligibility Checker” documents can also be obtained from the above website. Perhaps of particular importance, the FAQs document states that at a scheme level unsecured facilities of up to £250,000 may be available, but also that businesses will be required to provide a borrowing proposal to the bank to ensure that they have a “credible” chance of using the funds to see the business through the crisis. Obviously, being such a new scheme, we are yet to experience what individual banks will consider “credible” for this purpose.
As a reminder, the government has agreed to cover the first 12 months’ interest charges on CBILS borrowings, and so, whilst we would recommend that businesses fully prepare themselves to provide all that will be needed for an application, businesses should consider the timing of the application to ensure that maximum benefit is achieved at the point the business will be most affected by the Coronavirus crisis.
Finally, it should be remembered that these facilities are still a form of lending and so any amounts borrowed will be repayable in full.
If you have any questions regarding these measures or any of those previously announced, please feel free to contact us.