Financial support guaranteed

  27.03.2020 Business

"The aim of the ordinance is the provision of credits quickly and without red tape to anyone who is economically and financially affected by the pandemic." This is how federal councillor and head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) Ueli Maurer described it at last week's press conference. Also last week, the banks in the Saanenland informed on request that their liquidity is secured. According to this ordinance, they too are obliged to provide their customers with money.

Bridging aid for SMEs
According to Maurer, the focus is on bridging aid for SMEs to cover current fixed costs. For the individual entrepreneur, this means the possibility of obtaining an interest-free loan of up to CHF 500,000. In principle, these would be granted and paid out immediately without any major examination, said federal councillor Maurer at a press.

"The interest rate on these loans up to CHF 500,000 is zero and there are no fees." The security for the banks is provided by the Confederation, which fully guarantees these amounts. If a loan is over CHF 500,000, an interest of 0.5% applies and the Confederation guarantees for 85% of the amount. The respective bank guarantees the remaining 15%. This financial support does not apply to companies with a turnover of more than CHF 500m, as Maurer specified.

The banks in the region are ready to provide short-term, yet individual credit solutions.

Unbureaucratic and rapid process
Affected companies can apply for bridging loans from their main bank up to a maximum of 10 percent of their annual turnover up to a maximum of CHF 20m. "Certain minimum criteria must be met. In particular, the company must declare that it will suffer significant losses in turnover as a result of the corona pandemic", says the Federal Council. The credit application has been available on the website since yesterday.

Ensuring the stability of the Swiss economy remains the top priority of the FDF. "The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) support the Federal Council's liquidity package and are rolling out further measures for their own."

Additional measures to support the economy
On 25 March, the Federal Council approved further measures to cushion the economic consequences of the spread of the coronavirus. They concern compulsory job registration, unemployment insurance, short-time working compensation and pensions. The new measures in favour of employees will lead to estimated additional costs of around CHF 600m per month for the unemployment insurance.

The new measures were designed in particular to reduce the administrative burden on both the applicants and the executive bodies in the cantons. "The latter must be able to process applications for compensation as quickly as possible," says the media release.

Measure in the area of pension schemes
The Federal Council has also decided that employers may temporarily use the employer contribution reserves they have built up to pay employee contributions to the pension funds. "This measure is intended to make it easier for employers to bridge liquidity bottlenecks". The measure has no effect on employees: "As in normal circumstances, the employer deducts their contribution from their wages and the total contributions are credited to them by the pension fund.

Based on AvS/Anita Moser/Jenny Sterchi

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