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If the company cannot repay the bounce back loan then it is in effect insolvent.  You can either start a creditors voluntary liquidation or wait for the bank to petition the court to wind up the company.  So, there is nothing stopping you putting your company into liquidation if it has a bounce back loan.

What is a Bounce Back Loan (BBL)?

The Bounce Back Loan was offered by the Government during the Coronavirus pandemic to help businesses get back on track, and gain access to emergency finance quickly. The loans were interest free for the first 12 months and are 100% Government backed for lenders.  In addition, you did not have to personally guarantee the loan.

Remember, a bounce back loan is a LOAN. As with any debt you should know that ignoring it does not make it go away. It just makes the problem worse. So, try to not bury your head in the sand. So always follow the agreed terms. And if any doubts, talk to your provider.

However, be aware that the consequences of defaulting on a BBL are less severe than if the loan was backed up with a personal guarantee.

What Happens If You Can’t Pay The BBL Back?

Defaulting on your Bounce Back Loan is a clear warning sign of company insolvency. When this happens, creditors (anyone owed money) become a priority, and the directors have to act in their best interests. If you fail to make the loan repayments then expect action to be taken by the lender in order recover the debt.

What happens to the BBL in liquidation?

Liquidation is a quick way to close the company, it involves ceasing to trade and turning all assets into cash by ‘liquidating’ them. This money is then used to pay back creditors. There are two types of insolvent liquidation:

  • Creditors voluntary Liquidation – which is started by the directors.
  • Compulsory Liquidation – which is started by creditors via a court procedure and overseen by the official receiver.

On entering liquidation, any bounce back loan becomes an unsecured debt i.e. the loan is not secured against any company assets. Unsecured creditors normally receive nothing in liquidation.  So for this reason the Bounce Back Loan is guaranteed 100% by the government. The British Business Bank, that has overseen these loans, has made it very clear that they expect the banks to pursue these debts in the normal way.  Only if the business becomes insolvent will the bank be be able to claim from the government.

Can I Be Made Personally Liable For The Company Debts?

Initially, the answer is no. But, there are some caveats to this.

If you use the BBL funds for anything not financially beneficial for the company then you may be held personally liable. So, the funds can be used to pay wages, by supplies, settle bills BUT if you, as the director, are found to take advantage and use the funds to pay personal loans off or invest in property etc, then you may be liable. When the company becomes insolvent the licensed insolvency practitioner has the role of investigating the directors’ actions – which includes seeing how the BBL was used.  If it is deemed that the money has been “stolen” from the company then they will pursue the director for this.  Also be aware that the Insolvency Service disqualified 831 directors last year 2023 for Bounce Back Loan Fraud.

BBL funds can be used to refinance existing company debt, but you must use it wisely. If you choose to favour some creditors over others then this brings risk of making preferential payments which can be reversed by a liquidator for upto 20 years after the payment was made.

So, you can liquidate your company with a bounce back loan.

However, if you have a Bounce Back Loan do not try and dissolve the company! All the banks receive a notice from Companies House if you try and they will object. So, you either have to liquidate the company voluntarily or wait for the bank to apply through the court (risky, stressful and will take a long time)

If you would like to liquidate your company, call us on 0800 9700539 or you can fill out a form on our website and get a quote in minutes. We can talk you through the process, organise the legal paperwork and begin proceedings.