At its meeting on April 3, 2020, the Federal Council decided to expand the COVID-19 bridging loan guarantee program. Due to the huge demand, he is asking Parliament to increase the existing guarantee credit by CHF 20 billion to a total of CHF 40 billion.
The early days showed that the COVID-19 bridge credit facilities are in great need and that the rapid and unbureaucratic processing via banks and PostFinance works well. As of April 2, 2020, 76,034 credit agreements with an estimated volume of CHF 14.3 billion had been concluded.
Because of this considerable demand, the 20 billion francs of federal guarantees should be exceeded in the coming days. The Federal Council thus requests the Parliament to extend the program of guarantee credits and to increase the maximum volume of guarantees from 20 billion francs to a total of 40 billion francs. CHF 10 billion of this sum is urgently requested from the Delegation of Finance, which will meet on April 7, 2020.
The Federal Council generally assumes that aid funds are not being misused. However, there is some potential for abuse with the non-bureaucratic provision of credits. The Federal Council is determined to remedy this. Today, it instructed the relevant departments to rapidly implement an anti-abuse concept, which contains the following measures in particular:
- The central unit of guarantee organizations verifies that all COVID-19 credit contracts comply with the basic prerequisites, as well as multiple credit applications. Unjustified or multiple credit requests will be quickly revoked.
- In addition, COVID-19 credits are systematically reviewed by linking VAT and other data, for example to check the details of the turnover provided by the companies and follow the differences.
- The FDF was also responsible for quickly providing the Federal Council with possible options to strengthen the criminal and / or liability provisions of the Joint Guarantee Ordinance. It should be possible to prosecute not only the companies requesting credit, but also their governing bodies, and therefore the individuals who support them.
On March 20, 2020, the Federal Council presented a comprehensive set of measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 26, 2020, the banks and PostFinance have been providing liquidity to the companies concerned in the form of bridging loans, so that they can cover their current overhead despite the fall in turnover due to the new coronavirus.
Loans of up to CHF 500,000 are fully guaranteed by the Confederation, and credits between CHF 500,000 and CHF 20 million are guaranteed by the Confederation at 85% of their value. The Federal Council considers that this instrument will help small and medium-sized enterprises to get through this difficult phase in a targeted manner without non-repayable contributions from the Confederation. Companies that need liquidity can get it and repay the corresponding loan over a period of five years.
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