On 17 March it was adopted in Royal Decree 8/2020, which in Article 29 included a Line of State Guarantees of up to 100 billion euros managed by the Official Credit Institute (ICO), and aimed at alleviating the economic effects caused by coronavirus on companies and freelancers.
Known as unendoed ICO credits, they have become a solution for many companies and freelancersin times of crisis, being able to access financing and obtain liquidity with the guarantee that it will be the state that will act as collateral.
Unendoed ICO credits are managed by the ICO through financial institutions,which provide financing to companies and self-employed people, in order to ensure liquidity and meet their needs. In total, 86 entities are in a willingness to grant these ICO credits without guarantee.
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What is an ICO loan?
In an ICO loan, the Official Credit Institute provides the necessary funds to companies and self-employed persons throughcredit institutions, exclusively for those who have suffered the negative economic consequences caused by a crisis, in this case by COVID-19.
In this way, financial institutions will keep open ICO lines until 30 September 2020,and will be responsible for transferring to applicants the benefit derived from the public guarantee with better conditions, such as less interest or a longer period for their repayment.
It would be up to the State itself to endorse undertakings and self-employed persons, and who would cover the principal amount of non-payment ofthe loan, with the exception of possible ordinary interest or delay.
Who can apply for ICO loans without guarantee and what conditions should be met?
ICO loans are intended for self-employed and enterprises,especially medium and small enterprises (SMEs), so that they can continue to effectively address the different payments they face, obtaining the necessary liquidity to do so.
It will be the guarantees granted by the Official Credit Institute that will cover the principal amount of the unpaid part of the loan, which will allow self-employed persons and employers to have an endorsement on the part of the State, and to improve the interest rate of the credit.
The conditions required to access ICO loans are as follows:
- The maximum amount of the ICO loan may not exceed EUR 500,000,regardless of w matter as it is made in one or more transactions.
- The aid obtained may only be used to solve liquidity problems,such as: payroll, rents, taxes, or to prevent the closure of the business.
- ICO credits are an exceptional form of lending,which have an interest rate of up to 1.5% APR,and a repayment and shortfall period of between 1 and 4 years.
- The credit institutions may only charge a single commission when the transaction is carried out, in addition to that corresponding to early depreciation.
- Loans may be formalized until 31 December 2020.
To apply for an ICO loan it will be essential to be autonomous or have a company domiciledin Spain, whose activity is within the list of related activities.
In addition, the following requirements must be met to enjoy this assistance:
- Do not appear in delinquency files.
- Not be immersed in collective insolvency proceedings.
- Funding may not be used for prior or subsequent refinancing.
- Large companies must have a credit rating of B- or higher.
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Are credit institutions required to provide an ICO loan?
Each entity shall be free to grant or deny an ICO credit,depending on its internal risk criteria. In the event that an entity rejects the credit, the applicant may reapply again to a different entity.
Here we have to emphasize that banks will not be able to force other servicesto be contracted for the approval of the ICO credit, as reported by different freelancers and entrepreneurs, who claim that credit approval was conditional on the contracting of other services such as life insurance.
Likewise, under no circumstances shall the sum of the interest rate plus the initial commission exceed the maximum APR established by the Official Credit Institute.