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The eco decryption. Banks invited to be at the bedside of companies in difficulty


The Ministry of the Economy and Finance in Bercy (Paris). (AFP)

Of the opinion of the CPME which represents small and medium-sized enterprises, banks are too cautious when companies ask for more time to repay loans guaranteed by the State, the famous EMPs. AT the creation of these EMPs, last March, the state had already given a one-year delay before banks could demand repayment of the loan. Like a blank year, in a way, before interest kicks in. The problem is, it’s been almost a year! For companies that took out this type of loan at the start of the pandemic, last March, the repayment countdown will soon begin. Except that as the crisis lasts, many companies cannot afford to start paying. Some are even more fragile than before.

This is why Bruno Le Maire would like all banks to automatically accept a postponement of an additional year to companies that request it: this is the subject of the meeting on Tuesday, January 12.

Some, like BNP or BPCE, have already given the green light. But more than the delay, it is the “automatic” character that poses a problem. Lmost banks want to keep control of the files, on a case-by-case basis. EThey explain that in this crisis, they play along. For example, the refusal rate for these EMPs is barely 2.8%. 638,000 companies have benefited, mostly small and medium-sized businesses elsewhere. That is 130 billion euros distributed in total.

In one in two cases, the companies did not use the loaned money. With this system of EMPs, many have built up precautionary savings, like households in fact. For households, it is very different. For mortgage loans, for example, thes banks are asking for more guarantees than before because they fear bad debts. But the risk is greater. It should be remembered that for loans guaranteed by the State, as their name suggests, the State guarantees up to 90% of the amount loaned to companies. Suffice to say that it changes the situation.

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