COVID-19: AFBS Update August 2020

The deadline for application for COVID-19 loans has expired on 31 July 2020; no extension is planned. Banks were held to submit loan agreements to the centre of the surety organisms c/o PWC not later than 14 August 2020.
The SBA updates on the following points:

Amendment of existing Loan Agreements

  • The exceptional rule allowing the bank / debtor to unilaterally amend erroneous content in a loan agreement expired on 31.8.2020 with the end of the application phase; the relevant FAQ has been erased.
  • Since 1.8.2020 the procedures contain a new point regarding "review of loan agreements upon offence or misbehaviour" which outlines the procedure for partial repayment upon request of the surety organism or Kellerhals Carrad as their legal representative. Such repayments require an amendment of the loan agreement.
  • The centre of the surety organisms / PWC is expected to remain in place until end of August and will continue receiving amended loan agreements ( ). The SECO will inform on any changes.

Restructuring / Change of Lender

  • There were numerous requests for a flexible treatment of the change of legal personality of lenders (as a consequence of restructuring or mergers). The procedure is presently being defined in the context of the debate on the COVID Act; the SECO will inform on changes in due time.

Change of Creditor

  • The procedures contain a new point (Fig. 7) on the change of creditor. This has been introduced taking into account the existing legal framework, the high number of COVID loans (135,000) the extended duration of such loans (ten years) and the complexity of the lending programme with involvement of surety organisms.
  • Banks cannot be obliged to take over an existing COVID loan and a change of lender can only take place if both banks have adhered to the framework and signed the agreement on COVID-19 loans.
  • The SBA reminds that COVID loans are part of an emergency programme and should not be used for client acquisition.


  • Participating banks are held to inform the surety organisms at least every six months on repayments and interest payments relating to loans granted under Art. 3 and 4 of the COVID Ordinance.
  • The SECO and the surety organisms are in the process of setting up an automated reporting mechanism. The first transfer of data will not take place in August as initially planned; new deadlines will be published later. Delay is due to technical and regulatory issues relating to the data transfer.
  • The FINMA confirmed that the related mechanism is not considered to be falling into scope of the Circular Outsourcing, which avoids the duty of banks to certify the process.
  • The authorities are assessing additional diligence duties (documentation, audit); the SECO evaluates whether to free banks from liability for reporting purposes. The SECO will inform.