Switzerland Doubles Emergency Loan Fund To Help Businesses Survive Pandemic

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th April, 2020) The Swiss government has decided to increase emergency loans for businesses to a total of $41 billion after being swamped with bailout requests from companies struggling over a coronavirus-driven economic slowdown.

On Friday, the government announced that the rescue fund will be increased to CHF 40 billion ($41 billion), with the current fund of СHF 20 billion expected to be used in the coming days, the finance ministry said.

"Because of this considerable demand, the CHF 20 billion in federal guarantees is likely to be exceeded in the next few days. The Federal Council is thus asking Parliament to expand the guarantee credit programme and increase the maximum volume of guarantees from CHF 20 billion to a total of CHF 40 billion," the ministry said in a statement.

The government launched the bridging loan scheme on March 26. According to the ministry, as of April 2, more than 76,000 credit agreements with an estimated volume totaling CHF 14.3 billion had been concluded.

The government secures 85% of the value of the loans, hoping that this measure will help the small and medium enterprises to get through the period of the pandemic without direct state donations. The loans are repayable over a 5-year period.