The government has announced a package of support to help small businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) – here’s how to apply.
After some businesses struggled to access credit through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Chancellor announced a new Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
The main difference between the BBLS and the CBILS is that the government guarantees 100 per cent of the finance, plus you can only access a maximum of £50,000.
The BBLS went live on 4 May 2020 and had already received 100,000 applications by the end of the day, according to the Financial Times. They also reported that the average loan is around £30,000.
Like the CBILS, the BBLS is operated through the British Business Bank and its accredited lenders. Through the BBLS:
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Your business needs to:
You'll have to self-certify that your business is eligible as part of the application.
Lenders taking part in the scheme include Barclays, HSBC and Natwest – the British Business Bank has a full list of accredited partners.
You should approach your current bank for finance. While there isn’t anything stopping you from going elsewhere if they can’t give you finance, the Financial Times reports that out of the 10 lenders taking part on day one, only HSBC was offering non-customers a loan.
The British Business Bank also mentions that high demand for the BBLS means that your lender’s phone lines will be busy, so keep this in mind when applying.
Mike Cherry, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said the application process can vary from lender to lender: “Some have submitted their short application forms with no trouble at all, others have been told to wait for forms to arrive, and some have struggled to make an application due to site failures.”
When you apply for a loan, you’ll need to self-certify that you’re eligible for the BBLS based on the criteria above. If your business is eligible, the British Business Bank says the application will be “subject to appropriate customer fraud, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks”.
Your lender will decide whether to offer you finance. Unlike the CBILS, your lender can’t ask for a personal guarantee and the loans are guaranteed 100 per cent by the government.
While they can’t take recovery action on the primary vehicle or main home of sole traders or members of partnerships, your lender could go after other personal assets.
The government guarantees 100 per cent of the loan but your business is still liable for all of the debt and repayments.
And if your bank turns you down, you can still apply with a different lender.
This article is intended as a guide only. Before making any decisions on borrowing money, you should seek independent financial advice.
Have you applied for the BBLS? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
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