Banks are hunkering down while waiting for the new version of the PGE

Landing is scheduled for this week. Unless unforeseen, Bercy should give more details in the hours or days to come on the new version of the loan guaranteed by the State (PGE) announced in mid-March, a device already adapted several times since its creation in March 2020 “Technical discussions are underway, both with the banks and with the European Commission,” explains a source close to Bercy.

Without knowing precisely the new device, the banks show support in principle. “They will continue, as they have done, to seek solutions with their customers, particularly in the context of activities exceptionally impacted by the conflict in Ukraine,” said the French Banking Federation (FBF). But behind the scenes, some establishments doubt the usefulness of this new version.

“I remain cautious”

The EMPs were initially created to help companies get through the period of confinement without damage. Except in the case of loans granted to very large companies, these loans are 90% guaranteed by the State. They must now be brought up to date as part of the “resilience plan” established by the government.

In principle, this new EMP should experience two innovations. First, for loans granted until June 31, the amounts that companies can increase will increase from 25% of turnover to 35%. Secondly, after June 31, and until the end of the year, another EMP will see the light of day, this time authorizing the borrowing of only the equivalent of 10% of turnover.

“I remain cautious, because all of this has not yet been definitively validated”, added Bruno Le Maire, however, in mid-March, presenting this project. Not to mention reluctance, some bank officials are not enthusiastic.

Among the remarks, the borrowing quota of 35% would be too high, since on average, companies that have subscribed to EMPs have borrowed the equivalent of 18% of their turnover, according to an industry source. Thus, they would not have yet exhausted the current possibilities (by 25%). Then, explains a banking official, “if a company already in debt is having difficulties, it is doubtful that it can get better by taking on more debt”.

Lifeline or boon

The opposite argument is also put forward: for some companies that were already doing well, the EMP was not a lifeline, but a godsend. “I know companies which have thus been able to strengthen their cash flow and carry out external growth operations without difficulty”, explains a banker, who does not see the point of returning to it.

Granted to some 700,000 companies between 2020 and 2021, for an amount of nearly 145 billion euros, the PGE is now treading water. “We don’t even follow the weekly statistics anymore,” continues a banking source. The new instrument would therefore not respond to a strong demand, but rather… to the electoral calendar.

” And why not ? “, Tempers another bank which makes the analogy with the “participatory recovery loans”, launched in the spring of 2021, but which have not been able to find their audience. “These loans at least have the merit of existing, which is reassuring for the client, and thus completes the arsenal of what we could offer. »

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