Coronavirus: General Export Facility - export finance support for small businesses

News article

Benefits, eligibility criteria and how to apply for the General Export Facility

UK Export Finance has launched the General Export Facility. This is a new guarantee scheme, in association with the 5 major UK banks, to give small UK business exporters the working capital to recover from COVID-19.

It means the UK Government can provide an 80 per cent guarantee on financial support from lenders to support general exporting costs, up to the value of £25m. This will help businesses to fulfil multiple export contracts, build their inventory and ease cash flow constraints.

About GEF

The General Export Facility (GEF) from UK Export Finance (UKEF) provides partial guarantees to banks to help UK exporters to gain access to trade finance facilities.

Through GEF, UKEF can support the following facility types, with maximum repayment terms of up to 5 years:

  • cash facilities such as trade loans
  • contingent obligation facilities such as bonding and letter of credit lines

GEF is able to support facilities valued up to around £25 million. For facilities with values over £25 million, contact your local Export Finance Manager as one of UKEF’s other schemes may be suitable.

Read more about the benefits of GEF.

Eligibility criteria

In order to access the scheme, you must satisfy the bank’s and UKEF’s criteria.

One of the key requirements is that the exporter must be able to declare:

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

or:

  • in each of the last three financial years, at least 5 per cent of their annual turnover has been made up of UK export sales

Additionally, the exporter must be able to declare:

  • they have premises in the UK
  • they have employees in the UK
  • they pay UK or Isle of Man/Channel Islands National Insurance Contributions or Corporation Tax
  • they 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:

  • they 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

UKEF guarantee fee

The guaranteed bank pays UKEF a guarantee fee. This fee is a proportion of the interest margin paid by the UK exporter to the bank for providing the facility.

How to apply

To access GEF, exporters should discuss their potential application with their bank.

There are currently 5 participating banks:

  • Barclays Bank plc
  • HSBC Bank plc
  • Lloyds Banking Group/Bank of Scotland plc
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland plc /National Westminster Bank plc /Ulster Bank
  • Santander UK plc

See contact details for approved lenders and find about more about becoming an approved lender.

First published 9 December 2020