Danske Bank, one of Northern Ireland's biggest business lenders, has urged firms to provide full cash flow analysis if applying for the Government's Covid-19 business interruption loan scheme.
It comes as Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said banks should release the money swiftly so that companies here, whose income had dried up overnight as a result of Covid-19, could survive.
He said a vast range of local businesses, from food service to automotive, had seen demand disappear.
Firms who make parts for cars have been hit by a closedown of the big motor manufacturers in Europe, while food service providers are hit by the collapse of the restaurant industry.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) opened for applications yesterday. It can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues as a result of the pandemic.
The CBILS is delivered by the British Business Bank through other lenders.
As well as CBILS, the Chancellor also announced on Friday a scheme for companies to have 80% of employees’ wages paid up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Mr Kelly said: “Companies will be going through their cash right through to the end of April, having to pay two months’ wages at a time when they’re not getting any income from the customer side. Money from the business interruption fund needs to begin to flow into firms.”
The major lenders here said they were hoping to implement the scheme quickly.
A spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland said: “We are working with the British Business Bank to enable implementation as soon as possible.
“We are advising business customers to get in touch with us to work through the best options for them as our assistance can include emergency working capital and payment flexibility on loan facilities.”
Robert McCullough, head of business sector engagement at Danske Bank, said: “The scheme is a great initiative for supporting businesses.
“It is important to note that lenders will want to see the assumptions made in terms of cashflow analysis to support the lending proposal.
“Provision of quality information from the customer at the start of the process will lead to a quicker turnaround in terms of getting funding.”
Meanwhile, AIB in Northern Ireland said it had applied to join the loans scheme.
A spokesperson for Ulster Bank said: “We know that the impacts of coronavirus are being felt by Northern Ireland’s businesses, and understand that the ongoing uncertainty is a worry and challenge for our customers.
“Ulster Bank’s parent bank has been working closely with HM Treasury and the British Business Bank.”
Meanwhile, a scheme run by the Department for the Economy is to give grants of £10,000 and £25,000. A spokesman for the department said: “This crisis is without parallel and developing a scheme for tens of thousands of businesses would be complex and challenging in normal times.
“Therefore, we ask for patience. The scheme will be operational as soon as possible.”
Companies across Northern Ireland are assisting in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus across the region and further afield, as others alter their business model amid widespread restrictions.