Credit Guarantee Bill 2012
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation recently published the Credit Guarantee Bill 2012. The scheme will provide a 75% state guarantee to banks against losses on qualifying loans to firms with growth and job creation potential.Initially, the scheme will facilitate up to €150 million of additional lending a year to SMEs. The cost of the scheme per € 150m of lending is € 6.38m. However, this does not take into account benefits to the exchequer which this lending will bring in terms of increased tax receipts and decreased social welfare payments. When these benefits are taken into account, the net gain is over €25m per €150m of lending. The State will enter into an agreement with each lender and will accredit the lender to participate. The guarantee will be given to each lender for a collection of loans ( a portfolio approach) rather than individually (loan-by- loan-basis). The choice of loans which make up the portfolio is at the discretion of the lender, provided the borrowers meet the eligibility criteria. An Annual portfolio claim limit will be set for the aggregate value of loans for each lender, thereby capping the State’s exposure. Once a lender’s default claims have reached their claim limit, any further losses must be borne by the lender and will not be eligible to be reclaimed from the State. Both the borrower and the bank retain exposure in the event of default. The State is exposed only to the portion of the loan guaranteed up to a pre-specified limit. The period for which the guarantee is provided (as distinct from the term of the loan) is three years. The State Aid framework sets the requirement that a premium must be charged to the borrower in return for the State guarantee. Recipient businesses will be required to pay the Minister (the Guarantor) an annual premium of 2% on the outstanding balance of the loan, assessed and collected annually in advance. A qualifying enterprise must not employ more than 250 persons. There are a number of exclusions including primary production in agriculture, horticulture and fisheries, refinancing of existing debts and overdrafts and property- related activities. The food and drinks sector will be eligible for the Scheme.