The Government’s Business Finance Guarantee Scheme has been an epic failure. Today, some welcome changes to the scheme have been announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
The scheme has been too restrictive and there was far too much red tape for struggling businesses to jump through. The Government budgeted more than $6 Billion for the scheme when it was originally announced. However, to date, only $150 Million has been lent to just 780 businesses.
Today, the Finance Minister has announced some very welcome changes to the scheme.
What Has Changed:
- The scope of the loans has expanded from supporting COVID-19 impacted cashflow to supporting businesses to respond to, reposition and recover from the impacts of COVID-19
- The maximum loan amounts have increased from $500k to $5m; and
- The loans can now be used for capital expenditure.
- The maximum loan term has been extended from 3 years to 5.
- There is now an ability to refinance other debt under the scheme.
- The turnover cap for businesses has been expanded from $80m to $200m.
- There are no establishment or early repayment fees.
The total funding available under the scheme is limited. Applications need to be made by 31 December 2020. More detail can be found here: https://treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/new-zealand-economy/covid-19-economic-response/measures/bfg
The loans still do not apply to residential or commercial property investment. We think the Government has missed an opportunity here as a housing shortage looms with the significant number of New Zealanders returning from overseas.
Let’s hope these changes to the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme allow many more businesses struggling through their response to the pandemic to access the funds they need to secure their operations and thrive in the new normal.
How to Apply
Like the original scheme, applications are made through the participating banks (ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Heartland Bank, Kiwibank, SBS Bank, TSB, Bank of China and Westpac).
Normal credit processes apply, so if you intend on applying you will need to pull together information to support your application.
What the bank will require will vary case by case, but we suggest at a minimum they will want your most recent financial statements and up to date forecasts/budgets (ideally three-way).