Message from Lewis Stringer, British Business Bank
Senior Manager, UK Network – East & South-East Midlands
Subject: Stakeholder & Intermediary Communication - Support for Smaller Businesses
All of us have been affected in some way by the spread of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 outbreak. These issues will take time to resolve and both the economy and daily life will experience an extended period of interruption before returning to a semblance of normality.
You will have seen that the Chancellor has announced that the British Business Bank will manage the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which will become available in the week commencing 23 March 2020. It will be delivered through a range of over 40 accredited lenders and offer attractive terms for both businesses applying for new facilities and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses experiencing increased costs or disruptions to cashflow during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’. The Government will cover the first twelve months of interest payments and any facility arrangement fees charged by lenders, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m. Note that the borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. To find out more about the CBILS and to share information with the various SMEs you work with, please go to: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/CBILS
Any business interested in applying to CBILS should talk to their bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss their business plan with them. This will help the finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched.
In addition to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme the government has announced a series of other measures to help businesses. For more information please visit the government's Covid-19 business support website here.
Like you the health and wellbeing of all our colleagues is our top priority, so following government advice all the staff of British Business Bank will now work from home. Our internal and external meetings will also be conducted via video conferencing, as we follow the government’s guidance on social distancing.
We have robust, tested and secure IT infrastructure in place, and have enacted our business continuity plan. All our team members are equipped with the hardware and software they need to fully perform their roles remotely.
In short - we are very much open for business, however we will naturally need to prioritise some areas of our activities, so we do kindly ask you to take this into consideration with regards to our response time to some of your enquiries.