Mar 30, 2020
A recent article in The Globe and Mail by James Bradshaw and Christine Dobby outlines the assistance the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are offering small- and medium-sized businesses facing financial difficulties while dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of waiting for government action, BMO offered to increase operating lines of credit and defer payments on loans for small businesses, among other measures, while EDC will guarantee exporters’ bank loans up to $5 million so they can access more cash right away. For reaction to these relief options, the reporters reached out to Osler’s Joyce Bernasek, a partner in the firm’s Financial Services Group.
As Joyce explains, many businesses that have had to close in response to the coronavirus outbreak — restaurants and retailers in particular — are already looking to tap into revolving lines of credit. “The banks are just inundated — and I think the shutdown orders will just continue this — with requests by all the companies that they lend to, to be drawing money.”
However, because of the interruption to their business, many companies may not be able to meet the covenants in their lending agreements, such as minimum revenue or even just carrying on business. That said, Joyce continues, banks have been fairly flexible so far.
“Generally speaking, banks don’t like to call events of default on credit facilities. And I think there is an understanding as well within the banking community generally that we have to carry on through this period.”
If you subscribe to The Globe and Mail, you can learn more by reading the full article “BMO, Export Development Canada announce financial relief measures for small- and medium-sized businesses” by James Bradshaw and Christine Dobby in the March 24, 2020 edition.