Support for SMEs in Europe: the "European Guarantee Fund" now accessible to BNP Paribas clients

After State-Guaranteed Loans (SGL) and Stimulus Equity Loans (SEL), find out how this guarantee complements existing schemes for SMEs. Initiated by the European Investment Fund, it is deployed by BNP Paribas commercial networks in France and Luxembourg, while a specific setup is being introduced in Italy.

Why assume responsibility for guaranteeing a loan?

Europe is showing signs of economic recovery, but some SMEs still need help to rebound. Existing schemes (see below) are sometimes not available or no more accessible to them. The European Investment Fund (EIF) has therefore created the European Guarantee Fund (EGF) to facilitate their access to credit. New loans are offered and guaranteed by the EIF for 70% of the amount borrowed.SMEs thus benefit from preferential terms on these so-called “EGF” loans, which maturity stands between two to eight years and are offered in our commercial networks..

AWho benefits from this scheme?

In France, it targets only ‘small’ SMEs: fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of 50 million euros.Or for an company with a total balance sheet of less than 43 million euros. The other condition concerns the financial health of the SME: it must not show any financial difficulties prior to the Covid-19 crisis. Under normal circumstances, the company should have been eligible for traditional loans.


European Guarantee Fund

Funding may cover: 

  • the need to structure debts and adjust appropriations, which was not possible under the other support arrangements,
  • or new projects: investments in tangible or intangible assets, external growth, innovative projects…
"After State-Guaranteed Loans (SGL) and Stimulus Equity Loans (SEL), we remain committed with our SME clients with the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). These loans will enable eligible firms to support their projects of investments, external growth, transformation and debt structuring" .

Marguerite Bérard

Head of French Retail Banking, BNP Paribas

How this guarantee complements existing schemes

At European level, several economic support schemes complement each other, with the participation of the Group in each case:

  • First step: since the beginning of the health crisis in 2020, several states have implemented guaranteed loans, such as “State Guaranteed Loans” (PGE in France). The aim was to avoid companies’ liquidity issues when turnover was falling.
  • Second step: the Stimulus Equity Loans (SEL) were set up as part of the French State Recovery Plan.They enable SMEs and ETI to finance investment projects from 2021 to relaunch their businesses.
  • Third step: the "European Guarantee Fund" (EGF).


The EIB’s stated objective is a total of 23.2 billion euros of signed guarantees, in the participating European countries.

  • In France, BNP Paribas (BCEF) will release over 700 million euros of guarantees (of the 2.1 billion euros released for France).
  • In Luxembourg, BGL BNP Paribas is working on a specific allocation of 25 million euros.
  • In Italy, the arrangements negotiated with the EIB are specific. BNL BNP Paribas will deploy a budget of 469 million euros over the next two years. 

"Our integrated model enables us to support both our institutional clients in financing the European economic recovery, and our corporate clients in their growth investments. The collaboration between our BNP Paribas CIB & Retail Banking teams and the EIB is a perfect illustration of our One Bank approach." Caroline Pez-Lefevre, deputy chairwoman of One Bank BNP Paribas


Photos credits: @EdNurg, @nmann @BGStock72

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