SME Financing Guarantee Scheme
Helps You Grasp Business Opportunities and Expand Your Business
The SME Financing Guarantee Scheme ("Scheme") was launched on 1 January 2011 by The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited ("HKMC"). Since 1 May 2018, the Scheme business has been transferred to and carried on by HKMC Insurance Limited ("HKMCI"), a wholly owned subsidiary of the HKMC.
Objective and Guarantee Coverage
The Scheme aims to help local small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and non-listed enterprises to obtain financing from participating lenders for meeting their business needs so as to enhance their productivity and competitiveness in the rapidly changing business environment. Under the Scheme, the HKMCI may provide guarantee coverage of 50%, 60% or 70% to the approved facilities of eligible enterprises.
Honoured with the Best SME’s Partner Award by The Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business for eight consecutive years since 2012.
Special Concessionary Measures
To help tide SMEs over financing difficulties as a result of a possible credit crunch in midst of the uncertain global economic environment, the Financial Secretary announced in the 2012-13 Budget Speech a series of measures to support the SMEs, including the introduction of the time-limited Special Concessionary Measures under the Scheme which provides 80% guarantee coverage (“80% Guarantee Product”) to eligible credit facilities approved by participating lenders at concessionary guarantee fee rates.
The 80% Guarantee Product has provided strong support for SMEs in obtaining financing in the commercial lending market since its launch on 31 May 2012 and benefited an increasing number of enterprises. As announced in 2016-17 Budget Speech, qualifying guarantees under the 80% Guarantee Product can enjoy 10% off on annual guarantee fee rates and are no longer subject to a minimum annual guarantee fee rate of 0.5% (“Guarantee Fee Concessions”) (Note 1).
To help SMEs facing liquidity problems, the Government implemented enhancements for qualifying guarantees under the 80% Guarantee Product (“Enhancement Measures”) since 19 November 2018, including reducing the guarantee fee rates by 50% (“Further Concessions in Guarantee Fee”), increasing the maximum facility amount from HK$12 million to HK$15 million and lengthening the maximum guarantee period from five years to seven years. The Financial Secretary announced in August 2019 the extension of the application period and the validity period of the three Enhancement Measures under the 80% Guarantee Product to end-June 2022.
Note 1: The Guarantee Fee Concessions are applicable only to guarantee fees on qualifying 80% Guarantee Product due and payable on or after 1 June 2016.
90% Guarantee Product
The Financial Secretary announced on 15 August 2019 and 4 September 2019 that the HKMC Insurance Limited ("HKMCI") will introduce a new loan guarantee product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, under which the Government will provide for a 90 per cent guarantee for approved loans to help individuals looking to set up new businesses, businesses with relatively less operating experience, as well as professionals seeking to set up their own practices, to obtain financing. The HKMCI has been working closely with the Government on the terms and implementation timeline of the new product. Details will be announced later.
Eligible enterprises must have business operations in Hong Kong and be registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310). They must also have been in operation for at least one year on the date of guarantee application, and have good loan repayment records. Listed companies, lending institutions and affiliates of lending institutions are not eligible for the Scheme.
Type and Use of Loans
The Scheme guarantees both term loan and revolving credit facilities. An enterprise can borrow a term loan and a revolving credit facility at the same time. There is no limitation on the proportion between the two types of facilities.
The loans must be used for providing general working capital for the enterprises’ business operations, acquisition of equipment or assets (such as industrial or commercial properties, machinery and equipment, but excluding residential properties) in relation to the enterprises’ business or refinancing any facilities with a guarantee issued under the Scheme.
Maximum Facility Amount, Maximum Guarantee Period and Maximum Interest Rate
Each enterprise and its related entity(ies) can obtain guarantee(s) in respect of facility(ies) not exceeding HK$12 million in total at any one time under the Scheme under normal circumstances. The maximum guarantee period is five years. Under the Enhancement Measures, qualifying guarantees under the 80% Guarantee Product may cover the maximum facility amount and the maximum guarantee period of HK$15 million and seven years respectively (Note 2).
However, with respect to any application for the 80% Guarantee Product, the HKMCI may in its sole and absolute discretion to determine that an eligible enterprise and any of its related entity(ies) may be entitled to separate maximum facility amounts. Enterprises may approach the participating lenders for details of the arrangement.
The Scheme requires the overall interest rate of the guaranteed facility not exceed a specified interest rate ceiling but the HKMCI will also consider applications with overall interest rate exceeding such ceiling on a case-by-case basis. The HKMCI will adjust and announce the relevant ceiling to the overall interest rate in accordance with the interest rate cycle. Enterprises should consult their lenders as the overall interest rate level applicable to each facility is decided by the participating lenders.
Note 2: Applicable to applications for the 80% Guarantee Product submitted during 19 November 2018 to end-June 2022.
For each facility with an overall interest rate not exceeding the specified interest rate ceiling (Note 3), the annual guarantee fee is as follows:
Under the 50%, 60% or 70% guarantee products:
• Ranges from 0.5% to 3.2% of the loan amount/ limit of the facility
Under the 80% Guarantee Product:
• For any guarantee fee due and payable before 1 June 2016: Ranges from 0.5% to 1.0% of the loan amount/limit of the facility
• For any guarantee fee on qualifying guarantees under the 80% Guarantee Product due and payable on or after 1 June 2016 under the Guarantee Fee Concessions: Up to 0.9% of the loan amount/limit of the facility (not subject to a minimum annual guarantee fee rate of 0.5%)
• For any guarantee fee on qualifying guarantees under the 80% Guarantee Product due and payable on or after 19 November 2018 under Further Concessions in Guarantee Fee: Up to 0.45% of the loan amount/limit of the facility (not subject to a minimum annual guarantee fee rate of 0.5%)
Enterprises can pay the guarantee fee by annual payments or, for term loans, by an upfront lump-sum payment. Any upfront lump-sum guarantee fee payment can be financed by utilising the relevant facility. Enterprises can consult their lenders for details or get an idea of the amount involved by making use of the Scheme’s guarantee fee calculator for reference.
Note 3: Specified interest rate ceiling: 10% per annum (as at 1 August 2019)
Enterprise should contact the participating lenders to apply for the loan. The participating lenders will review the application before submitting the guarantee application form and relevant supporting documents to the HKMCI for review and approval.
A list of the participating lenders is available here.
For general enquiries about the Scheme, please contact:
1. the participating lenders; or
2. the HKMCI
Scheme Hotline: 2536 0392
Scheme Enquiry: email@example.com
This Scheme is operated by the HKMCI. The copyright to the contents of this webpage is owned by the HKMCI.
Last Update Date: 4 September 2019