April 3, 2020 / 11:48 AM / 2 months ago

Factbox: British business loan scheme strained by coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday announced updates to a scheme designed to get banks to help businesses hit by the coronavirus.

Here are the main points:

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

* Initially only firms with turnover up to 45 million pounds ($55 million), who can apply for loans of up to 5 million pounds

* Must be able to show the business has been impacted by the coronavirus crisis

* Must have a business proposition that would be viable were it not for the coronavirus

* Under expansion of the scheme announced on Friday, firms with turnover of 45 million pounds to 500 million pounds can also apply for loans of up to 25 million pounds

* Bigger companies covered under separate Covid Commercial Financing Facility, which stood at 1.9 billion pounds as of Wednesday

THE LENDERS

* 40 approved lenders in the scheme, mainly big banks

* Non-bank lenders, smaller firms lobbying to join scheme

* Government guarantees 80% of the loan

* Guarantee kicks in only after lender has exhausted other forms of recovering the debt

* Government pays interest and fees for first 12 months

* Following criticism lenders have removed the need for personal guarantees on loans of up to 250,000 pounds.

TEETHING PROBLEMS

* Some borrowers say process is bureaucratic, could not get through on bank phone lines overwhelmed in early days of scheme

* Borrowers complain of onerous demands for personal guarantees and other forms of security

* Only 1,250 loans made so far out of over 130,000 enquiries

* Banks worried about being forced to lend to firms that will go bust anyway

($1 = 0.8144 pounds)

Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Alexander Smith

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