The Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is the much-needed salvation for SMEs

BBLS

It’s a relief to see that the government has listened to the pleas of small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by creating a much more tailored government support scheme named the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

Small business owners need it now more than ever to help them through the financial struggles brought upon them due to coronavirus. 

BBLS comes seven weeks after the launch of the initial Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). 

The initiative was subject to some criticism, including high-interest rates from banks, and the government’s lack of swift movement to include alternative finance options on the approved list of lenders. Many SMEs felt that they were not covered by the scheme or deemed to be simply not creditworthy. Other criticism included the question of personal guarantees, covering the remaining 20% of loans not backed by the government.

So, what exactly is the Bounce Back Loan Scheme?

Released on the 4th of May, the BBLS received over 110,000 applications in just one day. The initiative is targeting SMEs whose income has dropped due to coronavirus and is backed by the British Business Bank.

The differentiator between CBILS and BBLS - the lender cannot ask for a personal guarantee, and the loans are 100% government-backed.

The Financial Times reported that with an average loan amounting to £30,000, the total given out by the government on the first day was already £3.3bn, nearly as much as the CBILS gave out in its first five weeks. BBLS already seems to be more in demand most likely because it is better suited to many small businesses. These early figures already show that BBLS appears to be more successful.

At Fractal, we understand the importance of listening to small businesses who need external finance to support their business. No small business is the same, and each business needs tailored solutions to suit their needs. 

Considering the quick action needed throughout these times, the government can be forgiven for pushing out flawed, quick fixes for small businesses so that they can survive.

However, for years, the fintech industry has been pushing for better support for small businesses and working with financial institutions and government to incorporate technology-based solutions to fix the burgeoning problem of small business funding. 

We were really happy to see that digital banks have been accredited by the British Business Bank as lenders for the BBLS. Starling Bank will be participating in the scheme from next Monday, and the alternative lending platform Funding Circle will also soon be joining the scheme. 

There is no better time for fintechs to become more involved with helping small businesses get the type of financial products they need to weather this storm and continue to work on the task of boosting a struggling economy.


Further information on the BBLS

  • 100% of the loans are guaranteed by the government 
  • It offers loans between £2,000 and £50,000, you can access up to 25% of your 2019 turnover
  • Similar to the CBILS, the government pays the first 12 months of interest.
  • No repayments are needed for 12 months.
  • The loan term is six years, but early repayments are possible.
  • Interests are at 2.5% per annum.
  • Money will be quick to arrive at a SME’s bank account, once a short form has been filled. 
  • Lenders cannot take personal guarantees or recovery action over personal assets.
  • The business is still 100% liable for repayment of the debt.
  • All major high-street banks are able to lend under the scheme 

Are you eligible for the BBLS

Your SME needs to: 

  • Be based in the UK
  • Have suffered because of the impact of coronavirus
  • Operate since the 1st of March 2020 and engage in trading or commercial activity
  • Not already claiming support under the CBILS, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) or the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility Scheme (CCFF)  
  • Is not in bankruptcy or liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring at the time of application 
  • Not be a business in difficulty at 31 december 2019 (if it was there must be confirmation of compliance with additional state aid restrictions under the minimis state aid rules) 
  • Make 50% of income from its trading activity
  • Use the loan for the economic benefit of the business
  • Is not in a restricted sector such as credit institutions, insurance companies, public-sector organisations, state-funded primary and secondary schools

Process

  • You can find a full list of accredited lenders here.
  • Self-certify that you are eligible for the scheme 
  • Fill out a short online application form 
  • Wait for the decision of your lender

We would welcome any feedback, questions and clarifications. If you are a small business who would like to tell us about your experiences, or a financial institution, government body or policy maker who would like to collaborate with us, then please email Lisa at lisa@askfractal.com.