Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Frequently asked questions


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now closed to new applications.

Please note, applications received by 23:59 on 31 March 2021 can still be processed through to 31 May 2021.

If you have a query about CBILS, or wish to discuss an outstanding application, please contact us in the usual way.


What is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?

CBILS is a new scheme that can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.

What types of finance are available and who offers which type?

CBILS supports a wide range of business finance facilities, including:

  • Term loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Asset finance
  • Invoice finance

Please note: Not every lender can provide every type of finance listed. CBILS is available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website

How do I know if I’m eligible to apply?

Smaller businesses (SMEs) from all sectors[3] can apply for the full amount of the facility, up to a maximum of £5 million.

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, your business must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Importantly, access to the scheme has now been opened up to smaller businesses facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility.

You may therefore consider re-contacting your lender if you have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding.

What types of businesses does CBILS support?

The scheme is designed to support smaller businesses (SMEs) who don’t meet a lender’s normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility, but who are considered viable in the longer-term.

Is the scheme appropriate for Start-ups?

For early stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme (loans £500 to £25,000 at 6% p.a. interest) may be more suitable. Visit or contact Finance For Enterprise for more information.

Will I need security to get a CBILS-backed loan?

Under the scheme, lenders will not take personal guarantees of any form for facilities below £250,000.

For facilities above £250,000, personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, but:

  • they exclude the Principal Private Residence (PPR), and
  • recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied

For all facilities, including those over £250,000, CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where a lender considers there to be sufficient security, making more smaller businesses eligible to receive the Business Interruption Payment. Where there is sufficient security available, it is likely that the lender will take such security in support of a CBILS facility.

A borrower’s/guarantor’s Principal Private Residence (PPR) cannot be taken as security to support a personal guarantee or as security for a CBIL-backed facility.

Note: If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

What supporting documents will I need?

You will need to provide certain evidence to show that you can afford to repay the loan. This is likely to include:

  • Management accounts
  • Cash flow forecast
  • Business plan
  • Historic accounts
  • Details of assets

Will I need to pay a fee to borrow under CBILS?

There is no guarantee fee for SMEs to use CBILS.

I have an existing EFG Facility with my lender that I need to discuss. What do I do?

If you have a query about an active EFG facility, you should approach your current provider – ideally via their website, and not the British Business Bank.

Are there any restrictions on a Borrower refinancing their EFG Facility to a CBILS Facility?

If you have a query about an active EFG facility, you should approach your own provider – ideally via their website – and not the British Business Bank. Any request for refinancing an existing EFG facility will be at each individual Lender’s discretion, be subject to certain limits, and you meeting the CBILS eligibility criteria.

What’s happening to the old Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG)?

The EFG scheme is temporarily suspended at this point in time. If you wish to apply for a financing facility, your lender will be able to assess if you are eligible under CBILS.

How long will CBILS run for?

CBILS will initially run for six months.

Will the CBILS funds run out so I can’t access the scheme?

No. Government has confirmed that the amount of funding available under the scheme will be demand-led. Therefore there is no immediate need to approach a lender if you do not need finance in the short-term. The scheme will initially run for six months.

Are sole traders / freelancers eligible?

Yes, as long as the business activity is operated through a business account. The scheme is open to sole traders, freelancers, body corporates, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships or other legal entity carry out a business activity in the United Kingdom, with annual turnover of up to £45m, operating in all eligible sectors.

The business must generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity.

I am getting other kinds of aid to help respond to COVID-19 – can I still get a loan?

Yes. You will still be eligible for a loan but certain payments you receive may count towards the amount of Business Interruption Payment (BIP) – the payments the UK Government will make to cover interest and fees on your loan – you will be entitled to. In this instance, these payments are made under the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Currently, the UK Government has not made any other payments under this State aid measure. The British Business Bank will publish details relating to any other payments that will count towards the BIP as and when we get them.

How is CBILS different from the EFG scheme?

CBILS is a new scheme. It is different from EFG in a number of ways:

– There is no guarantee fee for SMEs to use CBILS.
– The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the interest and any lender-levied fees in the first 12 months of any CBILS facility, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments* (originally announced as 6 months). Following earlier discussions with the banking industry, some lenders indicated that they would not charge arrangement fees or early repayment charges to SMEs borrowing under the scheme. HM Government greatly appreciates this approach by lenders.
*Fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture businesses may not qualify for the full interest and fee payment.
– The maximum facility provided under CBILS will be up to £5m. Under EFG, this was £1.2m – At the discretion of the lender the need for security may be waived for facilities below £250,000. For facilities above £250,000, requires the lender to establish a lack or absence of collateral prior to businesses using the CBIL Scheme. Primary Residential Property (PPR) cannot be taken as security under the scheme.
– CBILS is for borrowing proposals which, were it not for the current COVID-19 pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty. The EFG scheme was only for facilities considered viable under the lender’s commercial terms.
– CBILS is available to businesses with annual turnover of no more than £45m. EFG was available to businesses with annual turnover of no more than £41m.

If you have any further questions about CBILS, please contact Finance For Enterprise in the first instance.

Legal Notices:

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS).

British Business Bank plc is the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government which is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own trading name through a number of subsidiaries, one of which is authorised and regulated by the FCA. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiary entities are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. Accordingly, none of the British Business Bank group of companies takes deposits or offers banking services. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc can be found at