France Offers Extra Loans During Virus Crisis

PARIS (AFP) — Beginning Wednesday, French firms facing a cash crunch will be able to get low-interest loans to help tide them over during the coronavirus crisis, the head of the nation’s banking association said.

As the French state has provided credit guarantees, “we will offer supplementary loans to all firms,” said the head of the French Banking Federation, Frederic Oudea, in an interview broadcast Monday on the website of the daily Le Parisien.

Priest Jean-Benoit de Beauchene prays in the empty St. Vincent de Paul church in Marseille, France, on Sunday. Mass gatherings are forbidden due to the pandemic. (AP photo/Daniel Cole)

“Every company can ask their bank for a loan up to an amount equal to three months of revenue,” said Oudea, who is also head of French bank Société Générale.

He said the loans, which will carry an interest rate of 0.25% according to Le Parisien, will be available from Wednesday.

France has ordered many businesses to close and most people to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The 300 billion euros in credit guarantees are one measure the French government has taken to ensure that companies are able to survive the crisis, and officials have signaled they are ready to take additional action to ensure firms don’t fail.

Oudea said that firms that take out loans under the program won’t need to begin repaying them for one year.

As worries rise about firms delaying payments to one another as they try to hold onto cash, the French economy ministry and central bank said Monday they had established a crisis committee to monitor the situation.

© Agence France-Presse

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