Banks create conditions for businesses to restore soon

Since the beginning of 2021, Ho Chi Minh City has supported more than 406,000 customers with a total outstanding balance of more than VND471.19 trillion under the policies of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on supporting businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the city will strengthen the Bank and Business Connection Program with a credit support package of about VND70 trillion.

Preferential loans provided to more than 21,800 customers

At the conference on the preliminary review of the Bank and Business Connection Program in the first nine months of this year and tasks in the last three months in HCMC organized by the SBV-HCMC Branch in association with the Department of Industry and Trade on October 20, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Minh, Deputy Director of the SBV-HCMC Branch, said that in 2021, 11 commercial banks in the area registered to participate in the credit package to support businesses, with a total loan of more than VND312.04 trillion at preferential interest rates, along with other support methods, such as reducing interest rates on previous loans, increasing loan limits, and restructuring debt repayment terms.

By October 20, through the Bank and Business Connection Program, departments, Thu Duc City, and districts had coordinated with commercial banks to connect and disburse loans for nearly 19,300 customers, with a total capital of above VND216.57 trillion. The units had received the report of 816 cases facing problems and difficulties in accessing capital. Up to now, 813 have been resolved, and the remaining three cases are under consideration.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang Minh affirmed that capital demand at year’s end would increase sharply, but there would be no capital shortage. The banking industry has committed to ensuring sufficient capital at preferential interest rates to support businesses to restore production and business activities.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang Minh also suggested that when businesses needed support due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic related to Circular No.03/2021 of the SBV on restructuring the debt repayment term, exempting, and reducing interest, and fees, they could directly contact the credit institutions from which they were asking for loans for consideration and settlement. In case that their requests are not resolved, the credit institution must clearly state the reasons, problems, and recommendations. Moreover, enterprises can also report and petition about difficulties and obstacles when accessing the support policies of HCMC-based banks in writing and send their feedback to the SBV-HCMC Branch.

HCMC-based businesses need more incentives

Ms. Vo Xuan Boi Lam, General Director of USM Healthcare Medical Equipment Factory Joint Stock Company, said that her company was granted debt restructuring and interest rate cut by Agribank to lessen difficulties. By the fourth wave of Covid-19, Agribank had reduced the interest rate by 10 percent on all outstanding loans of the company from July 2021 to December 31, 2021. At the same time, her company was approved for an additional loan of VND120 billion to the working capital limit to serve business activities of pandemic prevention and control products and stabilize production and business activities.

Ms. Lam said that thanks to the bank's companionship, the company had ensured export orders, and its employees still had stable incomes. However, this period is still difficult, and cash flow is extremely important for the company. She suggested that banks should continue to have a policy of loosening debt repayment terms, extending the time for interest rate cuts, and lending loans to businesses to stabilize production and business activities.

Speaking at the conference, Ms. Phan Thi Thang, Member of the Standing Committee of the City Party Committee, Vice Chairwoman of the People's Committee of HCMC, acknowledged that in the current context, production recovery was a big difficulty for enterprises. The city’s leaders understood the difficulties and challenges that the business community had to face.

Ms. Phan Thi Thang asked the SBV-HCMC Branch to coordinate with the Department of Industry and Trade, commercial banks in the area, and business associations to study and propose the SBV to have preferential policies and higher interest rate cut for HCMC-based enterprises, especially the industries that had been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as tourism, transportation, and lodging services.

Regarding the Bank and Business Connection Program, Ms. Phan Thi Thang ordered the HCMC Union of Business Association, associations, and the Hepza to promote their role as a hub and a bridge to instruct businesses and members to directly contact authorities or summarize difficulties and problems of enterprises and transfer them to relevant departments to solve promptly, creating the most favorable conditions for businesses to soon restore and maintain production and business activities.

The Vice Chairwoman of HCMC People's Committee requested each district and Thu Duc City to organize at least one conference to connect banks and businesses or sign a direct credit contract between banks and businesses.

At the conference for the preliminary review of the Bank and Business Connection Program in the first nine months of 2021, 13 credit institutions of eight commercial banks pledged to support VND15.5 trillion of outstanding loans for 64 enterprises in HCMC. The new lending interest rate is at a maximum of 4.5 percent per annum for short-term loans and 9 percent per annum for medium and long-term loans.