Only three large operations have arrived at the public bank.

The Government denies a traffic jam at the Official Credit Institute (ICO) for processing urgent lines of public guarantees to give urgent liquidity to companies and self-employed affected by the economic coma induced to curb the coronavirus.

Sources from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation indicate that the vast majority of these guarantees are automatically granted by the ICO once the banks, after analyzing the risks of each operation, upload the documentation to the platform enabled for this purpose.

Except for a computer error, "it is impossible for there to be a traffic jam," they point out from Nadia Cavi├▒o's department. The ICO points out that "the system is fully automated" and "all the operations that banks load on this extranet are validated up to date".

It is the risk committees of the banks that evaluate the vast majority of these loans, designed especially for SMEs and the self-employed, which are aimed at 30,000 million of the 40,000 released so far in two batches. The expected total is 100,000 million. For SMEs and freelancers, the State covers through the ICO up to 80% of the risk.

The only operations directly analyzed by the public bank are the largest, over 50 million. And so far they are "numbered", explains the ministry. As of Thursday, three had been presented and / or approved by the public bank, although "there is one more that is informally known."

Sources in the sector indicate that the ICO itself asked the entities at the beginning of this process that large operations for large companies with a credit history should remain outside this umbrella with public guarantee, in order not to exhaust the available resources. Thus, the vast majority of credits are evaluated by the entities themselves, with much more experience in the field. In the previous crisis (from 2010 to 2012), the ICO managed a line of credit for the self-employed and SMEs (Direct ICO Line) that ended with a delinquency of 83%, as revealed by a report by the Court of Accounts two years ago.

For this liquidity line, there is a specific team in the ICO that, according to internal sources, does not exceed 20 people. Economy does not specify how many troops they are. The ICO has a total staff of 300 people. But "the problem is not there," stresses the ministry.

The public guarantee system for companies and freelancers affected by the coronavirus crisis was announced on March 17, but it has only been in effective operation (with retroactive effect) since April 6. In the first days, some entities took the opportunity to demand the contracting of additional products, such as insurance, to grant these lines, which led an investigation of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC).

In these two weeks, both the entities and the ICO have had to adjust their computer systems, which takes time, but after some initial problems and some slowness at the beginning of the process, they point to one of the main entities, "the thing begins to run".

The requests involve an arduous process of taking documentation, analyzing risks and sending them, with which more than 90% of the process falls on the entities. "So it is easier for the traffic jam, if there is one, to be in the bank," they acknowledge in the sector, which since this crisis erupted, in addition to managing these lines, has had to face other measures such as the moratorium. mortgage for those affected by COVID-19. And not all banks are going at the same pace: some have already exhausted their assigned ICO loan quota and others have not yet.

From some entity the ICO is being pointed out to justify the delay in the arrival of the funds. This is the case of a self-employed person who had a credit of about 75,000 euros pre-granted against this line of guarantees with one of the largest in the sector, who has communicated in writing that "given the delay that is occurring and the fact that They do not provide approximate payment dates ", the bank will" directly provide the money with the bank's own funds, canceling the ICO guarantee clause and without having to do anything else on the part of the clients ".

This entity has indicated to the applicant that "the significant bottleneck they currently have in this type of operations" and the fact that "each bank has an assigned quota, is causing many delays in the resolution by the ICO. We also do not know what is deciding the order in which they make payments ... And the new funds provisions we know that they have to put into operation but we do not know what they are waiting for. "

Complaints of the employers

"The problem is that this money is not coming due to processing. It has been implemented a little late, the ICO takes another 12 days ... At the moment, large and medium-sized companies are entering. We have proposed that a line of guarantees be made of the reciprocal guarantee societies that exist in the Autonomous Communities that are going to help a great deal to SMEs and the self-employed, "stated this week in a interview to the president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi.

According to a Cepyme survey, half of Spanish SMEs have requested an endorsement from ICO, which has been denied to 27%. Of all those who have requested this type of public aid, 39% complain that the process has been very complicated. The employers of the self-employed, ATA, has also asked to streamline the process. According to its president, Lorenzo Amor, only four out of 100 have obtained an ICO loan. "A very slow pace considering that demand is eight times higher", according to Amor.

The ACCAM union, linked to Bankia, ensured this week that "the complexity of processing any ICO operation has been increased this time by the increase in the volume of documentation required and by the numerous changes in criteria that have occurred, both in processing and in concession", although he considered "overcome this added difficulty". Economy also denies these supposed changes in criteria.

So far, financial institutions have granted some 116,000 operations that have been endorsed by the ICO for an amount of 11,700 million, which has allowed channeling more than 15,100 million to the productive fabric. 99% of the guarantees have been addressed to the self-employed and SMEs, a group on which the Government is making special emphasis, considering it the most vulnerable to the slowdown in economic activity generated by the coronavirus health crisis.

In this way, the ICO has guaranteed with some 9,000 million euros to SMEs and the self-employed, while the total financing for this group has amounted to some 11,300 million.


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