Covid 19

Europe’s largest finance companies and their subsidiaries have set out their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisations across the continent have published their intentions to assist clients that face lengthy periods without trading as the crisis accelerates.

Societe Generale, which tops the Asset Finance Europe 50 table, said it would implement a series of measures to improve cash flow for businesses, including the deferral of payment deadlines for up to six months, a “range of solutions with streamlined formalities” for clients in need of immediate cash flow and a 48-hour response time for SME and professional customers. It said it would also offer services from Bpifrance, its entrepreneur subsidiary, for short or medium-term cash flow and the possibility of restructuring existing loans.

At BNP Paribas, initiatives include additional credit lines and a dedicated advisory centre from Artigiancassa, its Italian subsidiary that provides finance to craftsmen.

Other BNP Paribas initiatives include accelerating decisions on funding requests, loan repayment deferrals on a case-by-case basis, and guidance on government policies.

In Italy, UniCredit announced that advisory services would be carried out remotely to guarantee nationwide service coverage for clients. It said a limited number of branches would remain open in all regions.

Santander has announced a series of measures, including a dedicated web page and customer support number for those affected by the crisis. It said it had already contacted thousands of business customers to discuss managing cash flow and supply chain issues and warned clients to be vigilant about criminals using the crisis to commit fraud through email and phone scams.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has published a COVID-19 business advice page on its website, while the Association of Fleet Professionals – a new organisation recently formed by the merging of ACFO and the ICFM – said its online training courses could assist those working in the industry without requiring them to attend physical events.

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