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Is a Director Liable if a Company Can’t Repay a Bounce Back Loan

If the company cannot repay the Bounce Back loan, the bank or a liquidator will likely investigate the use of the funds and may conclude that the loan was “stolen” from the company. As a director, you would be personally liable for the debt.

If you withdraw the Bounce Back loan from the company account and use it for personal expenses such as buying a car, taking a holiday, or covering general living costs, this could be considered irresponsible director behaviour.

Using the loan to repay personal debts could be considered fraudulent and you run the risk of being removed as director.

Personal Liability in the Context of Bounce Back Loans

Although directors of limited companies are generally not personally liable for their company’s debts, certain circumstances may lead to personal liability in the context of bounce-back loans.

These circumstances include misuse of funds, fraudulent activity, or preferential payments. Directors must be aware of these potential risks and take appropriate measures to avoid them.

To better understand the risks and responsibilities associated with the personal liability for Bounce it Back! Loans, let’s delve deeper into the scenarios of misuse of funds, fraudulent activity, and preferential payments, and how they can lead to personal liability for directors.

Misuse of Funds

Misuse of funds in relation to bounce-back loans occurs when a company uses the loan for purposes not specified in the loan agreement.

If a company misuses funds from a bounce-back loan, the directors may be held both personally liable for a bounce and responsible for repaying the loan should the business enter into a formal insolvency procedure and the administrator or liquidator discover the misuse.

This potential risk underlines the importance of adhering to the terms of the go-back loan’ agreement and using Bounce Back Loan funds for their intended purpose.

Fraudulent Activity

Fraudulent activity in relation to bounce-back loans may result in legal and financial repercussions for the company and its directors.

Including personal liability for directors if the loan has not been utilised in accordance with the terms.

Examples of fraudulent activity may include submitting false information to obtain the loan or other intentional acts of deception.

To avoid such consequences, it’s crucial for directors to ensure the loan is used appropriately and transparently.

Preferential Payments

Preferential payments refer to transactions that favour certain creditors over others, often due to a desire to do so.

In the context of bounce-back loans, preferential payments for loan amounts may include using the loan to pay dividends, repay personal debts to family members or pay off borrowing with a personal guarantee attached.

If a business with Bounce Back Loan borrowing is considering liquidation, it should treat the loan like any other creditor and not repay it before other debts or loans.

Should a liquidator apply to the court to recover the director’s loan account preference monies, the director’s duties could be held personally liable for a bounce back to the company.

Liquidation and Dissolution: Implications for Bounce Back Loans

In Bounce Back Loans, liquidation is the process of winding up a company’s affairs and distributing its assets to creditors and shareholders.

During the liquidation process, director investigations may be conducted to assess whether a director has fulfilled their obligations to the company and its creditors.

If a company is liquidated, the bounce-back loan becomes unsecured debt, and the directors may face personal liability if they have prioritised certain or other creditors, over others or engaged in wrongful or fraudulent activity.

Dissolving a company to avoid an investigation into director conduct is unlikely to be effective due to recent legislative developments.

The Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill, currently before Parliament, aims to prevent directors from striking off a company without being investigated for any potential wrongdoing.

This new legislation underscores the importance of transparency and compliance in managing the liability for bounce back take-back loans.

Liquidation Process and Director Investigations

Liquidation is the process of concluding a company’s affairs and allocating its assets to creditors, usually implemented when a company cannot meet its financial obligations.

Director investigations assess whether directors have fulfilled their obligations to the company and its creditors, including whether the directors have acted in the best interests of the company and its creditors.

If a director is found to have failed in their duties, they may face legal consequences, such as disqualification from office for 2-15 years or legal action initiated by the liquidator to recover lost money.

Directors must be aware of their responsibilities and the potential implications of their actions, particularly when dealing with Bounce-Back Loan repayments.

Dissolution and New Legislation

With the introduction of the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill, dissolving a company to avoid investigating director conduct is becoming increasingly difficult.

This Bill aims to address the issue of directors striking off companies without being investigated for potential wrongdoing, ensuring that directors are held accountable for their actions and that creditors are treated fairly.

As a result, it’s more important than ever for directors to manage Bounce Back Loans responsibly and transparently.

Strategies for Managing Bounce Back Loan Repayments

To avoid potential personal liability when managing Bounce Back Loan repayments, it’s essential for businesses to prioritise expenses and seek professional advice.

By carefully planning their cash flow and organising expenses, businesses can ensure they meet their loan repayment obligations and make adequate profit to avoid financial difficulties that may lead to insolvency.

Several strategies can help businesses manage their Bounce Back Loan repayments, such as delaying repayments for six months, extending the loan term, reducing monthly repayments to interest-only for six months, or paying back the loan early if feasible.

By employing these strategies and seeking expert advice, businesses can safeguard their financial health and protect directors from potential personal liability.

Prioritising Business Expenses

Allocating business expenses before repaying a bounce-back loan may impede the company’s ability to reimburse the loan and lead to potential legal action against the directors.

Prioritising expenses and making informed decisions about where to allocate funds can help ensure businesses meet their repayment obligations and avoid potential pitfalls.

It’s essential to thoroughly consider the consequences of allocating business expenses and to seek expert counsel if needed.

Seeking Professional Advice

Consulting a professional can be highly beneficial in understanding repayment options and negotiating repayment plans for bounce-back loans.

Obtaining professional advice and organising expenses is crucial in ensuring businesses can manage their Bounce Back Loan repayments and avert potential personal liability issues.

The expenses associated with obtaining professional counsel will vary based on the type of counsel sought and the professional providing the counsel. However, the potential benefits of expert advice often far outweigh the costs.

Understanding Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme was designed to offer economic benefits to businesses struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this government-backed loan programme, eligible businesses could access loans with favourable terms, such as interest-free periods and no requirement for personal guarantees from company directors.

Consequently, this bank loan and scheme became popular for many small businesses seeking financial support during these challenging times.

However, before delving into the personal liability aspect, it’s essential to understand the key features and eligibility criteria for bounce-back Back Loans.

This knowledge will provide a solid foundation for assessing these loans’ potential risks and responsibilities.

Key Features of Bounce Back Loans

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme offered loans ranging from £2,000 to £50,000, with loan terms extending between six to ten years.

These loans were granted to cover up to 25% of a business’s turnover, with a maximum limit of £50,000.

Notably, the UK government underwrote these loans, making them more accessible for eligible small businesses here.

A significant advantage of Bounce Back Loans was the absence of personal guarantees from company directors.

This means that directors’ personal assets, such as their primary personal vehicle, were not at risk if the company failed to repay the loan.

This feature provided a sense of security for many company directors, as they could access much-needed funds without risking their personal assets.

Director Liability in General

Director liability refers to directors’ legal accountability for a company’s financial obligations.

Generally, limited company directors enjoy limited liability, meaning that they are not personally responsible for the company’s debts due to the legal separation between the company and its directors.

Conversely, sole traders are personally responsible for their business’s financial liabilities and personal debts only.

This distinction is crucial when considering the potential personal liability of company directors in the context of Bounce Back Loans.

Insolvency procedures, such as liquidation or administration, can have significant consequences for directors.

If a business or company fails or initiates a formal insolvency procedure after signing a personal guarantee for borrowing without a personal guarantee, the directors may be held personally liable for repaying the loan, potentially putting their personal assets at risk.

Considering this, let’s explore the differences between limited company directors and sole traders in more detail.

Limited Company Directors vs. Sole Traders

Limited company directors are appointed to manage the company and have limited liability, while sole traders are self-employed and personally responsible for their business’s financial liabilities and debts.

Limited companies involve more reporting and management obligations than sole traders, who enjoy fewer formalities.

While limited company directors are responsible for overseeing the limited company structure, ensuring adherence to legal and regulatory requirements, and managing the limited company structure’s finances appropriately,.

Sole traders are also personally liable and accountable for their business’s financial liabilities and debts, as well as ensuring that their business adheres to all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Importantly liable for a bounce-back, sole traders are personally liable for Bounce Back Loans.


The Bounce Back Loan Scheme provided much-needed financial support for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While directors of limited companies generally enjoy limited liability, certain circumstances, such as misuse of funds, fraudulent activity, and preferential payments, can lead to personal liability in the context of Bounce Back Loans.

Understanding these risks and taking appropriate measures to avoid them is crucial for company directors.

By prioritising business expenses, seeking professional advice, and adhering to the terms of the loan agreement, businesses can effectively manage their Bounce Back Loan repayments and protect directors from potential personal liability.

In an ever-changing economic landscape, staying informed and proactive is the key to successfully navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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