Direct Lending Facility

How the Direct Lending Facility works, its benefits, eligibility and how to apply.


Under the Direct Lending Facility we provide loans up to £3 billion in aggregate to overseas buyers, allowing them to finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters. Loans can be made in sterling, US dollars, euros or Japanese yen.

The Direct Lending Facility has no upper or lower loan value limit.

Interested exporters should contact our customer service team in respect of enquiries for loans below £5 million, as an alternative product may be more appropriate.


The following criteria must be met:

• the exporter must be carrying on business in the UK

• agents/arrangers nominated by buyers or exporters will need to meet UK Export Finance’s general eligibility criteria

Initial enquiry form

You can register your interest in applying for a loan under the Direct Lending Facility by completing the short enquiry form (PDF, 352KB) and returning it to Based on the information provided, we will aim to provide you with initial feedback on how best to proceed with your application.

How it works

UK Export Finance is not a bank, and cannot always offer exporters a full range of banking services. Therefore, UK Export Finance is willing to deliver Direct Lending in partnership with a private sector provider. The following diagram shows how UK Export Finance provides a loan in partnership with a bank or a suitable non-bank entity. In the absence of a partner bank, additional fees will be levied by UK Export Finance equivalent to those that a bank would charge.

infographic showing how the Direct Lending Facility works

Full screen view of this infographic.

How to apply

The steps to apply for a Direct Loan are:

  1. Read this guide and the main features document (ODT, 40.6KB) to check this is the facility you need.

  2. Read the guide for applicants on business processes and factors to find out how we make decisions on applications.

  3. Read the quick guide to credit terms related to the export contract we are asked to support, which includes what is meant by credit terms, what terms can be agreed, the amount of credit that can be supported, starting point of credit, length of credit and repayments of credit.

  4. Read the quick guide to recourse which includes what recourse is, when it is sought and required, when we exercise recourse, from whom it is sought, the amount of recourse, release from recourse and the Lloyds recourse indemnity policy. (For the purpose of this note ‘UK Export Finance’ should be regarded as the ‘lending bank’.)

  5. Use our country cover indicators tool to find out what cover is available for the country you want to do business in.

  6. Fill in the Direct Lending Facility application form (PDF, 555KB, 26 pages) .

  7. Send your application form and supporting documentation to the Business Group. The address is:

Business Group
UK Export Finance
1 Horse Guards Road

Contact our customer service team.

Benefits of a Direct Loan

The benefits are:

• the exporter is paid as though it has a cash contract

• the buyer or borrower has time to pay over a number of years and can borrow at a very competitive fixed rate of interest

Maximum amount

The maximum amount of the loan is 85% of the contract value. A minimum of 15% of the contract value must be paid directly to the exporter by the buyer before the loan starts to be repaid. Of the 15%, a down payment of at least 5% should be received upon contract signature.

We can consider support for foreign content (that is, the cost to the exporter of purchasing goods or services from sub-contractors outside the UK) of up to 80% of the export contract’s value. UK Export Finance may vary this proportion if country limits are close to being filled and/or for large loan values (above £50 million).


The period for repayment of the loan must be at least 2 years.


An administration charge will be specified in the Term Sheet for each transaction. In the absence of a partner bank, additional fees will be levied by UK Export Finance equivalent to those that a bank would charge.

Use our premium indicator tool to obtain an indicative premium rate for transactions where UKEF will be supporting a contract with an overseas sovereign buyer as the risk entity.

Interest Rate

Interest will be at a fixed rate based on the applicable Commercial Interest Reference Rates (CIRRs) set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Download the current CIRR from the OECD website.

For each currency, the minimum loan fixed rate will be (i) the appropriate CIRR, or (ii) the cost of government funds (NLF rates) if higher.


This webpage has been prepared for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or investment advice. Any party entering into a legal agreement should obtain comprehensive legal and financial advice. This document does not constitute an offer or commitment of any kind on the part of Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State acting by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (“UK Export Finance”) to provide a guarantee, to enter into any form of financing or other transaction or to otherwise act, and is not intended to create any legally binding obligations. Any decision to provide such a guarantee or enter into any such transaction will be subject to, among other things, all necessary internal approvals and consents (including credit approval), satisfactory due diligence and definitive final documentation. The terms set out in this document are indicative only. The final terms of any guarantee or commitment provided by UK Export Finance will be modified to reflect the individual circumstances of the transaction of which it forms part and of the parties thereto and will be subject to the final determination and approval of UK Export Finance. This document does not constitute nor does it form part of an offer to sell or purchase, or the solicitation of an offer to sell or purchase, any securities or an offer or recommendation to enter into any transaction. This guide was last updated in October 2014.

Customer service

Published 3 March 2014
Last updated 31 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated, on the natural expiration of four year panel memorandums with partnering institutions, to remove the list of financial organisations appointed to help us deliver loans under the Direct Lending Facility.
  2. Updated to include details of UKEF's sovereign premium indicator tool.
  3. Changes to Security of Information Arrangements
  4. The Direct Lending Facility has now been changed to meet committements in the 2014 Budget to: * double the size of our Direct Lending Scheme to £3 billion * make the scheme permanent * relax conditions on loan sizes, and lend at the minimum interest rates allowed by international agreements * work in partnership with the private sector providers to deliver the enhanced lending scheme
  5. First published.