BGK aid package supports the country’s economic development
The government headed by Mateusz Morawiecki prepared an anti-crisis shield in a very short time. All of its stages were created in cooperation with numerous development institutions and ministries. An important role in the support system for Polish companies is also played by the bank system, including Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK). It can be said that BGK started from the so-called zero shield. It launched its de minimis guarantees for enterprises on 23 March, before other regulatory solutions were adopted by way of the COVID Act. In total, the bank prepared more than 10 aid programmes for enterprises of all sizes, regardless of the industry in which they operate. As many as 30 thousand companies have already taken advantage of BGK’s aid shield, with the finance supported by the bank amounting to PLN 23.5 billion.
One of the stages which the Polish economy is going through is the investment stage. At this stage, BGK and its guarantee systems play a very important role. Together with other financial institutions, the bank helps to maintain the companies’ liquidity and create investment opportunities.
Customers exhibit a great interest in each of the products offered by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. The bank has granted de minimis guarantees from the National Guarantee Fund in their new formula for more than 27.5 thousand transactions, with the value of the loans secured in this way amounting to more than PLN 14 billion. The requirements and criteria of the de minimis guarantee scheme were immediately adjusted to the new circumstances faced by the enterprises. Companies can use the guarantees to secure repayment of 80% of their loan free of charge.
In April, BGK launched a scheme offering guarantees for medium-sized and large enterprises from the Liquidity Guarantee Fund. The bank helps enterprises by covering up to 80% of their loan with a guarantee.
EU liquidity loans under the Smart Growth Operational Programme (OPSG) are also immensely popular with companies from the SME sector. Within five days from their launch, financial institutions received applications for an amount several times greater than the funds allocated to them for this purpose. In connection with that, the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy decided to increase the financial envelope. Thus far, more than PLN 2 billion has been committed to this scheme. Moreover, BGK is planning to launch another procedure to select the financial intermediaries which will grant future loans. It will most likely be launched as early as this August. The loans are characterised by zero interest and the absence of additional fees and commissions.
Changes were also made to EU loans from Regional Operational Programmes (ROPs) to relax the funding conditions. These include e.g. reduced interest, an additional 6-month grace period in relation to repayment of the capital or interest and capital repayment holidays. Completely new are the EU liquidity loans from ROPs – finance which makes it possible to cover current expenditure and maintain a company’s liquidity. EU liquidity loans are already available in most voivodeships. In cooperation with BGK, the Marshal’s Offices in voivodeships are deploying the funds at their disposal and extending the portfolio of aid for companies.
Another innovation is the Interest Subsidy Fund established by the Shield 4.0 Act. BGK pays a subsidy which covers part of the interest due to the lending bank. Loans with subsidies are granted by commercial and cooperative banks which cooperate with BGK.
Furthermore, in August BGK extended its support for farmers as well as agri-food processors granted in the form of loan repayment guarantees from the Agricultural Guarantee Fund. It is the bank’s first guarantee fund on the market which is available to the entire agricultural sector. Farmers can expect, among other things, an extended guarantee period and loan interest subsidies and thus obtain a cheaper loan on better terms.
Companies which introduce new technologies can also count on BGK’s aid package. Aid under the name Loan for Technological Innovations from the Smart Growth Programme has undergone a major change, which is why it may be completely new for entrepreneurs. First of all, the new rules enable entrepreneurs to obtain finance in the form of a technological grant for investments which are innovative at enterprise level, when before it had to be innovative at national level. One other important innovation is that the technological grant may amount to more than PLN 6 million, which used to be the maximum grant amount.
The pandemic is an especially difficult time for entrepreneurs from the tourism industry. For this reason, BGK has made numerous positive changes to the Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism programme. One important change is the ability to reduce the already low interest by half. The bank has also removed the barrier consisting in the requirement to make own contribution. Furthermore, enterprises may extend the grace period in relation to repayment of capital instalments by another 6 months or opt for 6-month repayment holidays instead (for repayment of capital or capital and interest instalments).
It is the bank’s mission to facilitate entrepreneurship – also in the challenging conditions created by the pandemic. For this reason, to facilitate commencement of business activity, BGK has also made changes to the First Business – Start-Up Aid programme. Those who have applied for a loan for setting up their own business may now suspend payment of capital instalments for a longer time, i.e. as many as 6 months. One important innovation in the programme consists in the bank abolishing the interest on the loan for a period of up to 12 months.
BGK has also introduced changes to the Biznesmax programme. These enable the bank to cover revolving loans, including overdrafts, and non-revolving loans with a guarantee, which constitutes a de minimis aid. Loans with a guarantee help companies to maintain their liquidity. Obtaining a guarantee makes it possible to receive an interest subsidy on the loan covered by the guarantee.
Social economy entities can also expect special liquidity loans. BGK has made changes to loans which help to extend their repayment up to 12 months, reduce the interest rate to as little as 0% and make it possible to take advantage of repayment holidays lasting up to 6 months.
The instruments which make up the anti-crisis shield certainly offer support to entrepreneurs. According to BGK’s research, more than half of the micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises surveyed by the institution had taken advantage of elements of the shield. According to forecasts of most international institutions and other forecasting centres, the Polish economy will be one of those which will suffer relatively little damage.
Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego
Last Updated on January 29, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska