Further details of a new iteration of the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), designed to support access to finance for UK businesses as they look to invest and grow, have been published today.
The scheme supports facility sizes of up to £2 million for borrowers outside the scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and up to £1 million for those in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The British Business Bank will administer the scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State for BEIS.
The Bank says the Recovery Loan Scheme aims to improve the terms on offer to borrowers. If a lender can offer a commercial loan on better terms, they will do so.
Key features include:
- Up to £2 million facility per business group: The maximum amount of a facility provided under the scheme is £2 million per business group for borrowers outside the scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and up to £1 million per business group for Northern Ireland Protocol borrowers. Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts.
- Wide range of products: Businesses can continue to choose from term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance. Not all lenders will be able to offer all products.
- Term length: Term loans and asset finance facilities are available from three months up to six years, with overdrafts and invoice finance available from three months up to three years.
- Access to multiple schemes: Businesses that took out a CBILS, CLBILS, BBLS or RLS facility before 30 June 2022 are not prevented from accessing RLS from August 2022.
- Pricing: The annual effective rate of interest and upfront and other fees cannot be more than 14.99%.
- Personal Guarantees: Personal guarantees can be taken at the lender’s discretion, in line with their normal commercial lending practices. Principal Private Residences cannot be taken as security within the scheme.
- Guarantee is to the lender: The scheme provides the lender with a 70% government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility after it has completed its normal recovery process. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
- Decision-making delegated to the lender: Recovery Loan Scheme-backed facilities are provided at the discretion of the lender. Lenders are required to undertake their standard credit and fraud checks for all applicants.
Eligibility criteria include:
- Turnover limit: The scheme will be open to smaller businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million.
- UK-based: The borrower must be carrying out trading activity in the UK.
- No COVID-19 impact test required: Unlike the previous iteration of the scheme, for most borrowers there is no requirement to confirm they have been affected by COVID-19.
- Viability test: The lender will consider that the borrower has a viable business proposition but may disregard any concerns over its short-to-medium term business performance due to the uncertainty and impact of COVID-19.
- Business in difficulty: The borrower must not be a business in difficulty, including not being in collective insolvency proceedings.
The Recovery Loan Scheme will be available through participating lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website once they open for applications.
Further information is available on the British Business Bank’s website. The NACFB will be updating its RLS intermediary guidance in the coming weeks.