Financial support for exporting SMEs – General Export Facility
Jon Huggins, Advisory Manager

SMEs that export products or services can now access working capital, to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has launched the General Export Facility (GEF), a scheme designed to support UK-based SMEs with access to a range of trade finance products including trade loans, bonds and letter of credit lines with maximum repayment terms of up to 5 years.

What is the General Export Facility?

Under the General Export Facility, UK Export Finance can provide guarantees up to 80% of the credit risk on facilities typically worth up to £25 million (other UKEF schemes are available for facilities with values more than £25 million).

Business will be able to apply for the finance from five UK banks, supporting the scheme – HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander and Barclays.

Benefits of General Export Facility?

  • Helps UK exporters to negotiate more flexible trade finance facilities and support growth of exporting businesses
  • You don’t need to evidence individual export contracts, in order to qualify
  • Whenever an application for GEF support meets the criteria, the guarantee will be automatically granted to the bank – minimising application response times

Is my business eligible?

In order to qualify for the scheme, you must meet both the bank’s and UKEF’s eligibility criteria. One of the key requirements is that you must self-declare that:

  • in any one of the last three financial years, at least 20% of your annual turnover has been made up of UK export sales or
  • in each of the last three financial years, at least 5% of your annual turnover has been made up of UK export sales

Additionally, you must:

  • have premises and employees in the UK
  • pay UK or Isle of Man/Channel Islands National Insurance Contributions or Corporation Tax
  • manufacture goods, deliver services or produce intangibles from the UK, which would (if required) qualify for a UK Chambers of Commerce Certificate of Origin

And/or:

  • you do not solely engage in the supply of goods that have been manufactured outside of the UK or services where the person contracted to perform the services ordinarily carries on business outside the UK

How do I apply?

Exporters can directly access financial support through the scheme from the UK’s five largest banks: HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander and Barclays, which can put in place UKEF’s guarantee automatically.

Next steps

There’s more information available here on the General Export Facility, or of course, you can contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at Inspire.  We’re here to support you.

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