On 17 March 2020, HM Treasury announced a number of measures designed to support companies. The Chancellor set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and companies through this period of disruption caused by Covid-19. One of the major measures announced was the joint HM Treasury and Bank of England lending facility, named the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The facility was designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper (CP).
At a summary level, to be eligible for the scheme, applicants needed to:
- Make a material UK contribution
- Be investment grade rated (or equivalent) as at 1 March 2020 (as supplemented by the ongoing credit quality review described below)
- Not be PRA- or FCA-regulated
- Not be a public undertaking
- Not be a leveraged investment vehicle
The CCFF closed to new purchases on 23 March 2021 as planned. Over its lifetime, the CCFF successfully met its objective of alleviating pressures on companies’ cash flows created by the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The CCFF did this by purchasing CP from companies which were of investment grade standing before the Covid disruption which commenced in March 2020. By lending to large companies directly, the CCFF protected the space for banks to lend to the wider population of companies, complementing other Bank of England and Government schemes such as the TFSME and CLBILS.
Overall, the CCFF lent over £37 billion to 107 different companies between March 2020 and March 2021, with a peak issuance in the scheme of over £20 billion in May 2020. Furthermore, the CCFF had approved over £85 billion of borrowing limits to over 230 companies. Eligible CCFF companies accounted for almost 2.5 million jobs.. Although closed for new purchases, the CCFF will continue to hold companies’ commercial paper until the final maturities in March 2022.
This page sets out details of the scheme, and practical information for issuers that still have outstanding CP in the CCFF, as well as other frequently asked questions.
If you have any questions please email CCFF-Applications@bankofengland.co.uk.