Bridge loans to help small businesses
The Swiss federal government put together a CHF 20 billion bridge-loan guarantee program to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. BCV participated in this program, which was designed for sole proprietors, partnerships, and other types of companies headquartered in Switzerland. The deadline to apply for a bridge loan was 31 July 2020.
Under this program, BCV was able to quickly provide business customers with federally backed bridge loans. Successful applicants were able to take out a loan for up to 10% of their full-year revenue or a maximum of CHF 20 million.
What’s my deadline for repaying this loan?
Normally you have five years to pay off the loan, but this can be extended to seven years if your company is experiencing major difficulties.
Companies are expected to start paying down their loans in 2021. Be sure to discuss the repayment terms with your advisor before the end of 2020. Companies are obviously welcome to pay off their loans more quickly.
Can I already start paying back my Covid-19 bridge loan?
You can pay down your bridge loan at any time by transferring money into your 2020 Government-backed Bridge Loan account via BCV-net. Any funds deposited into this account will automatically be used to pay down your outstanding balance and cannot be refunded.
Your Bridge Loan account must be added to your list of accounts in BCV-net before you can transfer money into it. Please contact your BCV advisor or the Business Banking Hotline at 0844 228 228. You’ll be sent the form that you must submit in order to add the account to your list of accounts in BCV-net. This account cannot be used for payment transactions.
Is there any chance the interest rate on my loan will change?
The Federal Department of Finance may change the interest rate on Covid-19 bridge loans once a year, with the change taking effect on 31 March. To make its decision, it will consult with the participating banks and take into account interest-rate trends. Its first opportunity to change the interest rate on these loans will come in March 2021.
Can I view my company’s outstanding balance?
If you want to view your 2020 Government-backed Bridge Loan account in BCV-net, please contact your BCV advisor or the Business Banking Hotline at 0844 228 228. You’ll be sent the form that you must submit in order to add the account to your list of accounts in BCV-net. This account cannot be used for payment transactions.
If you don’t already have access to BCV-net, you must request that as well.
Are there restrictions on how companies can use the loan proceeds?
The funds should be used to meet urgent working-capital needs. Until the bridge loans are paid back, companies cannot pay out any dividends, repay any capital contributions, or make new capital investments (although they can replace existing physical assets).