Banks’ support to businesses increases to almost 13 billion euros

Since the Corona crisis outbreak in March, the Dutch banks have, in addition to the support package by the government, offered temporary financial relief to over 174,000 entrepreneurs and consumers. A total of 12.8 billion euros has been made available (an increase from 11 billion two weeks ago, and seven billion four weeks ago) through the postponement of repayments and the provision of additional credit to companies. The details are displayed in the factsheet published today by the Dutch Banking Association (NVB).

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So far, almost 128,000 companies have received a postponement of loan repayments from their bank: totalling 3 billion euros. In addition, over 16.000 businesses received a larger credit, with a combined value of 9.8 billion euros. From these loans, almost 3600 have been provided with a government guarantee - many of those were made available through the Corona SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB-C). Almost one billion euros has been made available through the corona guarantee schemes.

Chris Buijink, President of the NVB: “The numbers on the support offered by banks are constantly developing. I hope that the easing of the measures by the Dutch government from June will have a positive impact on the economy. However, companies continue to need support. We also notice that the crisis gradually affects consumers more than before. For example, the number of unemployment benefit claims increased sharply in April and the numbers of layoffs is currently being limited due to the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Unemployment (NOW). Meanwhile, banks continue to do their utmost to help their customers during this difficult time.”

Funding applications have been decreasing, noted many banks. Many companies have received financial breathing space through the government support measures and the postponement of loan repayments and tax payments. The applications might increase again at a later point in the crisis. For example, the demand for loans for larger SMEs and business under the Corporate Finance Guarantee (GO-C) scheme is smaller than initially expected. This does not detract from the fact that the total volume of support could amount to one to two billion euros in the next month, as this scheme concerns relatively large loans.

The total financing sum is expected to increase in the short term, especially since the Small Credits for Corona guarantee scheme (KKC), a scheme for granting smaller loans of up to 50.000 euros, will be operational very soon. This arrangement was initiated by the banks in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Banks are ready to offer these loans as soon as the scheme comes into effect.

Eligibility for bank financing

The question is often posed whether banks cannot grant loans more easily when they have a partial government guarantee. Companies do not apply for a specific scheme at their bank, but for a generic liquidity requirement. While some businesses are in acute need of liquidity, others expect shortages later this year, depending on the duration and impact of the Corona crisis. Sometimes, companies’ needs are sufficiently met with the option to postpone repayments or by regulations put in place by the government. In any case, businesses that apply for funding need to be fundamentally healthy in order to be able to repay the extra debt. This requirement is also in the best interest of businesses itself. Due to this scrutiny, banks cannot answer positively to every application. It has been agreed with the government that the condition to be able to repay the loans applies to all schemes with a government guarantee. A number of companies do not meet the criteria and are rejected or they withdraw their application for other reasons. Especially smaller businesses face difficulties to meet the criteria for the Corona SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB-C). Therefore, the Small Credits for Corona guarantee scheme (KKC) was created to also meet the needs of smaller businesses. Applications under this scheme also have to undergo a banking test on the capacity to repay the loan.

Consumers

Almost 30,000 consumers have received a pause for their mortgage payment or personal loan so far. In most cases this concerns a payment break of one to three months. This totals a combined value of 74 million euros. A payment break is not the only means by which banks offer private customers leniency. Other possibilities are making adaptions to the product or arrangement on the payment schedule. Banks will each time take the individual situation into account.

Payment transactions

The number of debit card transactions made each week is back to around 100 million per week, this is around the same level as before the lockdown. The amount of payments that has been made contactless, has increased to 81%.

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