This scheme is now extended until 30.06.2022

SMEs play a vital role in our local community, creating employment and stimulating economic activity. Many SMEs have been hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic and may need support with working capital or term loans. People First is proud to be one of the only community lenders in Ireland to participate in the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, enabling us to assist local businesses, including Primary producers, impacted by Covid-19 to access credit.

Scheme Features
  • Loans from €10,000 to a maximum of €1,000,000 per borrower, subject to Loan Amount Criteria*,
  • Terms of between 3 months up to 5.5 years.
  • Loans will be available up to end of June 2021
  • Loan Purpose:
    • Working capital or investment
    • The Scheme will also permit the refinance and rollover of debt incurred as a result of Covid-19: e.g. Covid-19 related expenses that were initially funded through short term/temporary facilities such as overdrafts.
  • The Scheme will also permit the refinance and rollover of debt incurred as a result of Covid-19: e.g. Covid-19 related expenses that were initially funded through short term/temporary facilities such as overdrafts.
  • No security will be required for loans up to €250,000.
Loan Amounts Criteria

The amount of credit that can be obtained by a borrower under the Scheme (whether under one or more finance agreements) is subject to the Scheme rules and the Temporary Framework. The maximum amount of the credit that is permitted to be advanced to a borrower under the Scheme cannot exceed €1m, and will be determined by one of the following three criteria:

  • double the borrower’s annual wage bill for 2019, or for the last year available. In the case of a borrower created on or after 1 January 2019, the maximum loan must not exceed the estimated annual wage bill for the first two years in operation.
  • 25% of the borrower’s total turnover in 2019.
  • in limited cases and with appropriate justification, the amount of the loan may be increased to cover the liquidity needs of the borrower from the moment of granting for the coming 18 months for SMEs.
  • You will need to provide certain documents to the credit union as part of this application process to determine and evidence the maximum credit amount which you are entitled to apply for. These requirements vary, but are likely to include: - Management/Audited accounts/Business Plan.
How to apply

You can apply for the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme through

the People First Credit Union website via this link.


- Contact our Loans Team 057 862 2594 or Email

Who can apply?

Viable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and primary producers that meet the eligibility criteria and have or expect to have a reduction of minimum 15% in their turnover or profitability as a result of Covid-19. SMEs are defined by the Standard EU definition [Commission Regulation 2003/361/EC] as enterprises that:

  • have fewer than 250 employees
  • have a turnover of €50 million or less (or €43 million or less on their balance sheet)
  • are independent and autonomous i.e. not part of a wider group of enterprises
  • have less than 25% of their capital held by public bodies
  • is established and operating in the Republic of Ireland
Who can not apply?

Businesses that cannot apply for this product include those that:

  • were already in financial difficulty prior at 31/12/2019*
  • are bankrupt or being wound up or having its affairs administered by court
  • in the last five years have entered into an arrangement with creditors, in the context of being bankrupt or wound-up or having its affairs administered by the courts
  • are convicted of an offence concerning professional misconduct by judgement, fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering or any other illegal activity where such illegal activity is detrimental to the European Union’s financial interests
Scheme Costs

The interest rate applicable to the loan is 5%. In addition, the participating lender will collect a premium which is payable to the Government of Ireland. The premium rate that will apply will depend on the size of the business and the length of time for which the credit is being advanced, as per the tables below:

A loan to an SME/Primary Producer of €25,000 over 5 years will have a Premium of 0.61% applied. The total cost of this Premium over the life of the loan will be €390.73

Excluded Activities
  • Refinance of debt incurred pre the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Finance of pure real estate development activity.
  • Hemp production other than for fibre is an ineligible activity.
Credit Decisions & Appeals

People First Credit Union will make a credit decision to approve or decline your Covid-19 CGS credit application based on our agreed local credit policies and scheme conditions. If declined, you have the option of:

  • using the People First Credit Union internal appeals mechanism;
State Aid

The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme has been notified to the European Commission on the basis that the credit to be provided falls within the parameters set down in the Temporary State Aid Framework.

How to apply :