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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DE-2020-13/349 Updated – measures in Germany

KfW instant loan for medium-sized entreprises

KfW Schnellkredit für den Mittelstand

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 23 March 2020 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Sandra Vogel (IW) and Eurofound
Measure added 07 April 2020 (updated 08 November 2023)

Background information

This measure improved liquidity for small and medium sized companies that were not in trouble before the COVID-19 outbreak. The new conditions for receiving loans are based on the Rescue package adopted by the Federal Government in order to provide liquidity to companies during the crisis and are also facilitated by the EU "Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak“. The measure is temporary.

Content of measure

Given certain pre-conditions, companies with more than 10 employees can apply for a loan (3% interest rate, running time: maximum 10 years). The companies with more than 50 employees can be granted €800,000. Companies with fewer than 50 employees can apply for a loan worth up to €500,000. Additional risk assessment is currently not applied by the house bank or the KfW (the German Credit Institute for Reconstruction). Latter will guarantee all such loans (backed by the Federal Government's guarantee to take on all risks in the worst case).

Conditions still applicable to receive such a loan are:

  1. companies need to have entered the market at least on 1 January 2019;
  2. companies must prove not to have been in financial difficulties before the outbreak of the viruses. This means these business must have made a profit in 2019 (or on average over the last three years).


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

01 February 2022

Companies can no longer apply for grants under the KfW instant loan. However, applications that were sent in by the end of April 2022 can still be granted until 30 June 2022.

03 December 2021

All COVID-19 related aid programmes were prolonged until the end of April 2022. Maximum loan amounts for the KfW instant loan were raised. Companies with more than 50 employees can apply for a maximum amount of €2.3 billion (instead of €1.8 billion). Smaller businesses with 10 to 50 employees can apply for a maximum loan amount of €1.5 billion (instead of €1.125 billion). Companies with less than ten employees can apply for grants worth up to € 850,000 (instead of €675,000).

25 March 2021

All KfW programmes providing loans to companies negatively affected by the lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic were prolonged until the end of 2021. In addition, loan limits for the medium-sized entreprises were raised: Companies employing more than 50 employees can apply for loans worth a maximum of €1.8 million. Companies with ten to 50 employees can apply for loans worth a maximum of €1.125 million. Companies with up to ten employees can apply for loans worth a maximum of €675,000. The KfW also stated that it had spent around €49 billion in all its programmes related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

01 November 2020

At the beginning of November 2020, the KfW special programmes were prolonged until 30 June 2021.

Use of measure

Initially, the KfW issued a press release with the overall usage of the COVID-19 related measures administered by the bank. According to the press release, the KfW received over 70,000 loan applications (worth €50 billion) since 23 March 2020, 98.5% of these applications were not higher than €3 million. In another press release from 6 November 2020, the bank stated to have received 95,000 applications for all its additional COVID-19 related programmes. The bank has finalised 99% of the applications. Around 97% of the applicants were small and medium-sized companies. Granted sums amounted to a volume of nearly €46 billion.

In a press release from 3 August 2020, the Kfw announced that it has received more than 14,000 applications worth €4.6 billion for the instant loan since 14 April 2020.

At the beginning of February 2021, the KfW reported that it granted a total of €5.9 billion in 2020 under this programme.

On 17 May 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €56 billion in funds related to COVID-19 special programmes such as this one.

On 11 August 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €58.6 billion in funds related to COVID-19 related special programmes between the beginning of the crisis and 31 July 2021. Compared to the previous-year period (€33.8 billion) the overall volume of aid programmes related to COVID-19 in the first half of 2021 has decreased to €6.5 billion. This decrease is attributed to the end of the lockdown and to the nationwide ease of restrictions in the second quarter of 2021. Mostly, SMEs used the funds.

On 3 November 2021, the KfW stated that the demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes continued to decrease. In the first three quarters of 2021, the bank provided grants worth €8.4 billion in this context.

On 11 May 2022, the KfW announced that demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes kept decreasing. During the first three quarters of 2022, the bank provided €1.6 billion.

In August 2022, the KfW reported that demand for COVID-19 related support grants accelarated before the closure of the programmes at the end of April 2023. In the first half of 2022, the promotional bank issued grants worth €3.6 billion.

In its annual financial report for 2022, published on 31 December 2022, KfW announced that €22.4 billion had been drawn from the WSF as part of allocation transactions and an additional €12 billion for COVID-19 related assistance.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


There is no institutionalized tripartite setting for social dialogue in Germany. However, social partners are usually informed and often consulted on larger reform measures or asked for their views.

Views and reactions

German social partners welcomed the aid package issued by the Federal Government in March 2020. Employers and union alike support the additional KfW funding provided by the aid package, in order to improve companies' liquidity during the pandemic.


  • 13 March 2020: DGB and BDA: The social partners share responsibility in the corona crisis over differencesSocial partners neglect differences (DGB und BDA: Die Sozialpartner stellen gemeinsame Verantwortung in der Coronakrise über Differenzen) (
  • 07 April 2020: KfW coronavirus aid: loans for companies (
  • 30 June 2020: 100 days of KfW Corona aid: tens of thousands of companies benefit from federal support in the fight against the consequences of the pandemic (100 Tage KfW-Corona-Hilfe: Zehntausende Unternehmen profitieren von Unterstützung des Bundes im Kampf gegen Folgen der Pandemie) (
  • 03 August 2020: 100 days KfW loans (
  • 06 November 2020: KfW special programmes prologned (
  • 19 November 2020: State aid Germany (
  • 02 February 2021: KfW press release from 2 February 2021 (
  • 25 March 2021: KfW press release 25 March 2021 (
  • 11 May 2021: Latest update on COVID-19 related loans (
  • 17 May 2021: First quarter 2021 (
  • 11 August 2021: KfW report first half of 2021 (
  • 03 November 2021: KfW grants first three quarters 2021 (
  • 03 December 2021: KfW programmes prologned till April 2022 (
  • 01 February 2022: Information on KfW instant loan (
  • 10 August 2022: KfW press release August 2022 (
  • 31 December 2022: KfW financial report 2022 (


Eurofound (2020), KfW instant loan for medium-sized entreprises, measure DE-2020-13/349 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.