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Government Agrees Extension to Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme

The €2bn Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme will remain open for applications until end of 2021

26 Mar 2021

The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme will remain open for applications until end of 2021

26th March 2021 - The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D., Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D. and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. today announced that the €2bn Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme will be extended and will remain open for applications until the end of the year.

The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is the biggest ever state-backed loan guarantee in Ireland. The Scheme offers an 80% Government guarantee to participating lenders to provide Irish businesses, including those in the farming and fishing sectors, with access to low interest loans as they respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

The Tánaiste said:

“This Scheme is the largest ever state-backed loan guarantee in Ireland’s history. It allows businesses to borrow more cheaply and without the usual personal guarantees that accompany traditional lending. It’s been an important lifeline for thousands over the past few months.

“Over 5,000 businesses have applied so far. Government has agreed to extend it to the end of this year, giving businesses certainty and reassurance that this option will be available to them as they re-open. This extension will allow vulnerable but viable businesses get back on their feet. The majority of businesses using the Scheme to date have been those with under ten employees, in the Retail, Accommodation, Construction and Agriculture sectors. This Scheme is just one of the ways we are helping, there is a package of grants, wage subsidies, tax relief, advice and training available to businesses who are struggling during this really difficult time."

Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe T.D. said:

“The extension of the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is a welcome development that will ensure ongoing availability of credit throughout the remainder of this year to our vitally important SME sector who are facing the significant challenges of not only COVID-19 but also adjusting to Brexit. It demonstrates the Government’s broader commitment to ensure that SMEs have the right tools and supports to secure their viability.

In particular, I welcome the recent expansion in the on-lenders to beyond the retail banks, including 19 credit unions spread between three groups and non-bank lenders. This extension means that more SMEs will be able to access credit from an increased diversity of sources in both bank and non-bank credit.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. said:

“The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is an important source of finance for the agri-food sector as it deals with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. The Government has been consistent in supporting businesses and this extension to the €2 billion Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme reaffirms that commitment.

The continued availability of the scheme through multiple lenders, including credit unions, not only promotes competition but enables farmers, fishers and food businesses to access finance in their rural communities. I am pleased that my Department is providing support for the scheme.”

Loans provided under the scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million for terms of up to 5.5 years. Loans under €250,000 do not require any personal guarantees or collateral. Interest rates will vary depending on the loan; however, they will be lower than would otherwise be available in the market. To apply for the scheme, businesses can contact a participating finance provider directly.

Since the start of 2021, 19 credit unions and 3 non-bank lenders have also joined the Scheme as finance providers. 3 further non-bank lenders are nearing readiness in deploying funds through the Scheme.

The Scheme is part of a broader package the Government has put in place to help businesses navigate this exceptionally challenging time.

The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), more information can be found here

Current participating lenders: