30 Jun 2020
The Government’s package of support for business owners included a mixture of grants and loans. Currently, 972,000 businesses have borrowed a total of £40.7 billion, which is a lot of businesses!
There were two loans presented as a solution to help limited companies. The first was a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) that was available to small and medium-sized businesses up to a maximum of £5m. The Govt guarantees 80% of these loans paying the interest for the first 12 months. A few weeks after this scheme was announced, businesses were complaining that they were being declined as the application process was arduous.
Thankfully, the Government listened and announced the launch of the Bounce Back Loan, which allowed small businesses to borrow up to £50,000, 100% backed by
govt. With very limited underwriting, it is very attractive to businesses, and funds can be deposited within 24 hours.
We have seen a number of lenders begin to ask questions such as ‘has the business been impacted by COVID-19 or not?’ or ‘has the business taken a
bounce back loan?’. The aim is for underwriters to assess these cases differently by asking for further paperwork in order to satisfy the bank the
business is still viable.
I would hope that lenders do not take a negative view of businesses that have taken bounce back loans. Given we are in a period of uncertainty, there are
likely to be many successful businesses doing what sensible business owners do, which is to ensure they are protected from a POTENTIAL downturn and protect
their employees’ jobs by taking these loans as a safety measure rather than an immediate need.
To be clear, any business that obtained a grant rather than a loan, won’t be affected by new underwriting rules as the grants are not due to be repaid.