The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – how do I apply?

21st April 2020

Updated: 20 Aug 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was launched in late March and was significantly extended in early April. The CBILS scheme is scheduled to come to an end on 30th Sept, however, lenders have been given an additional two months after this date to process applications, providing the application is received prior to the deadline. Currently, the average time taken to process an application is 4 weeks.  

Under the scheme, if a business is turned down by one lender, it may apply to one or more other approved lenders. However, given the time taken to process applications, we strongly advise that you submit an application as soon as possible. In the unfortunate event of an application being rejected, businesses may find they are no longer able to apply elsewhere as the deadline may have passed. Therefore, it’s important that businesses take the time to collate all the necessary information before submitting an application. Often, rejections are received where the details provided are incorrect or incomplete. With the deadline approaching it is now even more important to ensure that the application is detailed and accurate.

Lenders are also expecting a significant upsurge in applications as the deadline approaches which could mean longer processing times between now and the end of the scheme.

in this blog, HB&O’s Corporate Finance Director, Greg Philp, looks at how you can apply to access finance under the scheme. 

Signing paperwork

Step 1: Check eligibility  

The first thing for any business to do is to make sure they’re eligible. Most should be covered, but there are a few exceptions. For details on the eligibility criteria and on the scheme in general, read our FAQ’s here

Step 2: Find and approach a lender 

Many businesses will approach their existing bank. The scheme is available through more than 100 accredited lenders across the UK, however not all are currently accepting applications. The full list of approved lenders can be found here

Not every accredited lender can provide every type of finance available under CBILS, and the amount of finance offered varies between lenders. It is important to consider the type of finance you need and don’t be afraid of applying to multiple lenders at the same time. 

If you are unsure which lenders to approach, you can talk to HB&O’s specialist Finance Consultant, Mark Edwards, who will be able to guide you through all the options available. 

The government has advised businesses to approach via the lender’s website. As there is currently a very high demand for CBILS facilities, phone lines are likely to be busy and branches may not be able to handle enquiries in person.  

However,  through Mark Edwards, we have senior contacts at most of the key local lenders. If you are struggling to make contact or to get a response from any lender, contact Mark who will be able to help! 

Step 3: Make a formal application 

Each lender’s application process will be different and they will be able to provide you with more detail on what is required, however, most lenders will ask you for the following; 

Details of the loan, including: 

  • the amount you would like to borrow 

  • what the money is for — the lender will check that it’s a suitable business purpose and the right type of finance for your needs 

  • the period over which you will make the repayments — the lender will assess whether the loan is affordable for you 

Supporting documents 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 

Check out our checklist of what information you'll need to apply for a CBILS here.

Step 4: The lender makes a decision 

The lender has the authority to decide whether to offer you finance and the terms involved. This will include the amount of the loan, the length of the facility and the interest rate payable. 

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 must 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. 

What happens if the lender turns me down? 

If one lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme. Applying to multiple lenders at the same time will provide a greater range of options and offer alternatives if one lender rejects the application. 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. 

How can HB&O help?

We are offering a free loan application review for our clients. We’ll take a look at your application before you submit it to the lender, offering guidance for any necessary changes and highlight any additional information you may need to include to improve the likelihood of your application being approved. 

If you'd like further information on the loan application review service, please contact Greg Philp on

Struggling to complete the application yourself? If you'd prefer, we can prepare and submit the whole application on your behalf. For more information on this service, including pricing, please contact Greg who will be happy to help.

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