France opens emergency loans scheme for businesses hit by coronavirus

France opens emergency loans scheme for businesses hit by coronavirus
Businesses in France have already been hard hit by the coronavirus lockdown. Photo: AFP
French firms facing a cash crunch will be able to get access to low-interest loans from Wednesday to help tide them over during the coronavirus crisis, said the head of the nation's banking association.

As the French state has provided credit guarantees, “we will offer supplementary loans to all firms,” said the head of the French Banking Federation, Frederic Oudea, in an interview broadcast Monday on the website of the daily Le Parisien.

“Every company can ask their bank for a loan up to an amount equal to three months of revenues,” added Oudea, who is also head of French bank Societe Generale.

He said the loans, which will carry an interest rate of 0.25 percent according to Le Parisien, will be available from Wednesday.

France has ordered many businesses to close and for most people to stay home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The €300 billion in credit guarantees are one measure the French government has taken to ensure that companies are able to survive the crisis, and officials have signalled they are ready to take additional action to ensure firms don't fail.

Oudea said that firms that take out loans under the programme won't need to begin repaying them for one year.

As worries rise about firms delaying payments to one another as they try to hold onto cash, the French economy ministry and central bank announced on Monday they had established a crisis committee to monitor the situation.

While it's not quite in the same league as a €300 billion bailout The Local is also trying to help small businesses hit by coronavirus.

Here is a message from our CEO

The last few weeks have been traumatic for all of us, but if you run a business of any size the worry caused by coronavirus has been magnified.

From disappearing customers to self-isolating staff, the challenges are enormous. Even if your business has been spared the direct effects so far, few will be safe from the impact of a tanking economy.

We know that many of our readers have excellent small businesses that will continue to thrive once the crisis is over – but that getting through the crisis itself and the draconian containment measures that accompany it will be a monumental challenge.

We want to do everything we can to help our readers weather the storm – and that means helping their businesses too.

One thing we can do in concrete terms today is to help our readers reach new customers.

Here’s our offer:

1) We’re turning The Local’s Noticeboard into a forum for readers’ business to advertise their services for free.

2) We'll do everything we can to drive readers to the Noticeboard so that everyone’s ads get seen.

3) We’ll share links to the business listings on our site banners and in our social media channels so that they reach the widest possible audience.

All we ask is that your ad respects social distancing and other disease control recommendations and regulations. So please – no encouraging people to gather outside their homes.

This is a worrying time, but here at The Local we firmly believe that by innovating and working together we can limit the damage caused by this virus.

We’re open for more suggestions as to how we can help. Let’s be there for each other.

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