Thursday 23 April 2020 1:21 pm

CBILS application process ‘soul destroying’, says director of film industry business

The process of applying to the lenders administering the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) has been “soul destroying,” the director of a small film industry business has said.

Diane Nyiry of Devon-based Cine Power International told City A.M.: “I have been shocked at the way the banks have been behaving, they haven’t been very angelic. They seem to be capitalising on the small businesses that the chancellor very generously was trying to assist.”

Cine Power supplies the film industry with power and lighting equipment and has been operating for more than 50 years.

Nyiry, who is in her 70s and has been with the company since it was founded, said the closure of the film industry meant that Cine Power’s order book had been frozen.

Last month she furloughed her four staff. Alongside her son Ben, also a director of the business, she set about trying to access funds to see the company through the industry shutdown.

“The announcement by the chancellor of the CBILS scheme was a Godsend,” she said.

However, she said the experience of trying to apply for a loan was “soul destroying” and a “total and complete nightmare”.

CBILS was set up to offer loans to firms with a turnover of up to £45m. Companies can access the money through more than 40 approved lenders and 80 per cent of the loan is guaranteed by the government.

Nyiry said the company, which is profitable, had been “turned down flat” with no explanation given by Esme Loans and Aurora Capital.

She also said that the voluminous paperwork required by lenders, including her own bank Coutts, was tough on small businesses and expensive to comply with.

“We bank with Coutts, they have introduced a CBILS package that terrified me. I read the terms and I thought ‘oh my God,’ I have been with them since 1979 and I couldn’t believe the terms they had added into their application,” she said,

Nyiry said the company was contacting further lenders to try and apply for a CBILS loan.

“We will have to keep trying, but it’s really tough and very soul-destroying when being treated so badly,” she said.

“I truly do not believe this is the government or the chancellor’s intention at all,” she added.