The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) came in to operation on 14 January. A 75 per cent. Government guarantee for loans will support bank lending of three months to 10 year maturity. Eligible businesses should have a turnover of up to £25million. The scheme will enable them to secure loans of between £1,000 and £1 million through the Government guarantee. The scheme can also be used to convert an existing overdraft into a loan, enabling small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to use these overdraft facilities to meet working capital demands. A Premium of 2 per cent. per annum (1.5 per cent. during 2009) on the outstanding balance of the loan is also payable to BERR, in addition to the loan repayments and any interest set and charged by the lender.
Decisions on individual lending rests with the lender, whose decision will follow a commercial assessment of the viability of the proposition and the ability to service the loan and other charges, the suitability of EFG as opposed to lender's other commercial lending products, and the EFG eligibility criteria (including sector restrictions as detailed on the BERR website).