Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) FAQs

18 Jun 2020

We’ve put together a list of FAQs to help you understand how the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) worked if your business had previously applied for it. You can visit our COVID-19 content hub for more information on the financial support available and you can use our platform to find appropriate finance for your circumstances.

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What was the CBILS?

The Coronavirus Business interruption Loan Scheme was part of a set of measures introduced by the government to help SMEs affected by COVID-19 access financial support in the form of loans and other types of finance. The scheme has now ended but our lenders are in the process of becoming accredited for the government’s new Recovery Loan Scheme and you can apply for alternative finance today.

How much could businesses borrow?

The scheme enabled eligible businesses to access up to £5 million, with the government guaranteeing 80% of the finance to the lender. The government also covers interest/ fees for the first 12 months and there are no guarantee fees for SMEs.

Who was eligible for the CBILS?

UK Business owners who were adversely affected by the coronavirus with an annual turnover of up to £45 million. Those looking to borrow £30,000 or more had to confirm that their business wasn't deemed a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019. Businesses from all sectors were able to apply, aside from:

  • Banks/ insurers/ reinsurers

  • Public sector organisations

  • State-funded schools (primary & secondary)

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Were SMEs based overseas eligible for the CBILS?

In principle, a foreign-owned SME was able to apply as long as it’s trading in the UK, not just selling into the UK. The core of its business operations must be in the UK and it must use the CBILS facility to support its business activity in the UK. The same goes for a UK-owned SME registered abroad.

How long was the loan for?

It depends on the type of finance you had applied for. Invoice finance facilities and overdrafts are available for up to 3 years. Loans and asset finance facilities are available for up to 6 years. (Bear in mind that not all lenders will offer every type of finance.)

What if I was turned down for CBILS finance?

If your business had been turned don before 31st March and you're still looking for financial support, you can apply for other kinds of finance. Funding Options has been chosen by the government-owned British Business Bank to help businesses find finance when they’re unsuccessful with the major banks. Read our guide to further loan options or speak to one of our friendly advisors today.

Were sole traders and freelancers eligible for the CBILS?

Yes, they were able to apply as long as their business activity was operated through a business account. The scheme was open to sole traders, freelancers, body corporates, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and other legal entities.

Could businesses apply for a CBILS facility if they were receiving other aid?

Unfortunately, the scheme is now closed but there are still further funding options available such as Business Interruption Payment (BIP) you’re entitled to. BIPs are the payments the UK Government will make to cover interest and fees on your loan.

What support is available for larger businesses?

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was available for large businesses affected by the coronavirus. Designed for companies with a turnover in excess of £45 million, eligible firms can access loans of up to £25 million. Large companies can also be entitled to the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility. Several other measures are open to larger businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If your question isn’t listed here, feel free to get in touch with a member of the Funding Options team for the latest information. With a panel of 120+ lenders, compare and choose the right loan for you.

Joe Morley
Joe Morley

Head of Unsecured Lending

Joe has worked in the alternative lending space since 2015. During this time he has helped hundreds of SMEs access millions in essential funding ranging from long-term asset-backed lending to short-term unsecured revolving credit lines and beyond. In his role, Joe manages and supports a large team of Credit Finance specialists.

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