Retail is a sector that has drawn from the loan facility. | Teresa Ayuga

An indication of the tough times experienced by small businesses and the self-employed in 2020 is that applications for assistance from the government-supported ISBA not-for-profit financial institution almost trebled.

The loans provided by ISBA amounted to 180.6 million euros. This went to some 2,100 small businesses and self-employed. Overwhelmingly, this amount corresponded to the extraordinary lines of credit made available because of the pandemic: 151.3 million euros for 1,828 businesses.

Balearic finance minister Rosario Sánchez stresses the "fundamental role" that ISBA has played. There had been a response to a situation "without precedent", the demand for financial aid having reflected the magnitude of the impact of the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, ISBA would carry out some 800 operations during a year.

She notes that the ISBA credit has gone to all sectors of the economy. Retail and wholesale accounted for 25%. Among others, bars and restaurants represented 11.9%, construction 11.8% and tourist accommodation 9.7%.

As well as the credit extended in 2020, there was postponement of payments related to previous loans. This amounted to 34.6 million euros for 441 businesses.

For 2021, the government is planning to make a further 100 million euros available for small businesses and the self-employed