Measures to support SME liquidity
Circular of the Italian Banking Association of 24th March
On 24th March 2020, the Italian Banking Association (so-called ” ABI “) issued a circular concerning the measures contained in the Law-Decree (“D.l.”) n. 18 of March 17, 2020 (the so-called Decree “Cura Italia”) aimed at supporting liquidity for firms affected by the Covid-19.
In particular, the ABI has provided the first instructions on the emergency moratorium on loans and credit lines granted by banks and financial intermediaries in favour of micro, small and medium enterprises and on the new measures from the Guarantee Fund for SMEs.
The credit support measures
Firstly, the ABI explained the most important aspects of the credit support measures, in coordination with the first directions provided by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finances ( “MEF”).
Concerning credit support measures (ex Article 56, paragraph 2 of D.l. 18/2020), also based on the directions of the MEF, the ABI specified that:
- the refund of non-installment loans that expire before 30 September 2020 will be postponed, without any formalities, to 30 September 2020, under the same conditions; any accessory elements to the loan agreement are extended consistently without formalities. In this regard, the Abi stated that “accessory elements” means all contracts connected with the loan agreement, including, in particular, guarantees and insurances;
- credit facilities until revocation and loans granted against advances on existing loans cannot be revoked, neither partly (both for the part used and for the part not used), until 30 September 2020 ;
- the payment of installments or lease payments relating to mortgages and other repayment loans, also perfected through the issue of agricultural bills, which expires before 30 September 2020is suspended until 30 September 2020 ;
- finally, it was clarified that the suspension of the payment period also includes installments due on 30 September 2020.
Who can benefit from the measures
The above-mentioned measures are targeted at micro, small and medium enterprises (” SMEs “), based in Italy, belonging to all sectors, as defined by the European Commission Recommendation 2003/361 / EC of 6th May 2003, which suffered, temporarily, shortages of liquidity due to the pandemic.
For SMEs, we mean companies with less than 250 employees and with a turnover of less than 50 million euros, or whose annual balance sheet total does not exceed 43 million euros.
Self-employed VAT holders, such as professionals and individual firms, are also entitled to the measures.
The impending conditions
In order to access the measures, the company must be performing, i.e. the beneficiaries must not have debt positions classified by the banking regulations as non-performing exposures, broken down into the following categories: non-performing loans, probable defaults, past due and/or impaired exposures. In particular, beneficiaries must not have installments more than 90 days past due.
How to apply for a moratorium
In order to obtain the moratorium, the beneficiaries must send a specific request via certified e-mail (the so called “pec”), or through other ways which allow to keep track of the communication with a certain date (e.g. registered letter), self-certifying:
- the fund for which the moratorium notice is presented;
- to have temporarily suffered liquidity shortages as a direct consequence of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic;
- to meet the requirements for the qualification of micro, small or medium enterprise;
- to be aware of the civil and criminal consequences in case of false statements pursuant to art. 47 Decree of the President of the Republic (DPR) 445/2000.
Banks and financial intermediaries will be required to accept moratorium notices if the applicants comply with the aforementioned requirements, but they will not have to verify the veracity of the self-declarations made by companies.
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