Guarantee cooperatives - easier access to bank loans

Thanks to the commercial guarantee system supported in partnership by the Federal Government and guarantee cooperatives, SMEs can enjoy the benefits of easier access to bank loans.


Since the reorganisation of the commercial guarantee system in 2007, development of the funding instrument has been very positive. In the period between 2007 and 2013, the volume of guarantees increased from 102 million to 227 million Swiss francs. Guarantees support creation, extension and subsequent control of viable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Currently around 1,700 SMEs benefit from guarantees in Switzerland.

In Switzerland there are currently three regional commercial guarantee cooperatives, as well as the Swiss guarantee organisation for women (SAFFA). Together they pursue the goal of making it easier for SMEs to access outside capital. To achieve this, the guarantee cooperatives take over a joint guarantee to secure the bank credit claimed by the company. Currently a maximum amount of 500,000 Swiss francs can be guaranteed for each SME that applies, against payment of a risk premium of 1.25% per year of the amount guaranteed. In return, the SMEs benefit from better terms of credit from the banks or they may receive credit on reasonable terms thanks to this additional security. The guarantee system plays an increasingly important role especially in the area of succession solutions in SMEs.

The Federal Government supports the activities of the commercial guarantee cooperatives by assuming the risk of loss at the amount of 65%, as well as through proportional contributions to administrative costs. This enables the cooperatives to keep the application reviews and monitoring costs low, as well as their risk premiums, meaning the SMEs are in a position to offer attractive conditions.

In the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the guarantee system is supervised by BG Mitte, the guarantee cooperative for SMEs based in Burgdorf, and by BG SAFFA, as the only Swiss BG organisation that operates in all cantons, with its headquarters in Basel. BG Mitte runs a branch office in Reinach in Northwestern Switzerland, which is open to all SMEs in the region as a local first point of contact. In addition to the support services of the Federal Government, both institutions also benefit from cantonal support.

The Canton of Basel-Stadt contributes to the costs incurred in the reviews, assignment and management of guarantees. The objective is to promote the level of awareness, accessibility and use of this financing instrument in the economic area.

Caroline Taskin, owner and Managing Director of YellowKorner in Basel, received a guarantee from BG SAFFA. She says: “Thanks to BG SAFFA, I was able to finance the development of my franchise company. SAFFA assisted me in an advisory capacity during the entire development phase and did not just support my business model, it also examined it critically. This has been extremely helpful to me as a young entrepreneur.”

The YellowKorner-Gallery at Spalenberg 35 in Basel offer deductions from originals by the world’s leading artists.


Contacts for guarantee cooperatives

BG Mitte, Bürgschaftsgenossenschaft für KMU
Bahnhofstrasse 59 D
P.O.Box 1104
3401 Burgdorf

Phone: +41 34 420 20 20
Email: info(at)

BG Mitte, Northwestern Switzerland Office
Christian Dalucas
Austrasse 2
P.O.Box 118
4153 Reinach 1

Phone: +41 61 270 96 86
Mobile: +41 79 322 10 16
Email: christian.dalucas(at)

SAFFA Bürgschaftsgenossenschaft
Andrea Theunert
Auf der Lyss 14
4051 Basel

Phone: +41 61 683 18 42
Email: mail(at)



Economic Development
Djurdja Röthlisberger
Financial Sector Manager
Hochstrasse 37
4002 Basel

Phone: +41 61 267 43 41
Email: djurdja.roethlisberger(at)