8 Apr 2020 16:48

Around 90 Russian banks to be able to issue zero interest loans to SMEs for payment of salaries - CBR

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) - Around 90 Russian banks will be able to participate in the program for issuance of zero interest loans for payment of wages by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the head of the Central Bank's Service for Protecting Consumer Rights and Ensuring Access to Financial Service Mikhail Mamuta told reporters.

Banks already started issuing such loans last week, but so far, these have only been two major players - Sberbank and VTB . Effective April 8, the list has been expanded to include MSP Bank, Promsvyazbank , Gazprombank , Alfa-Bank and Otkrytie Bank . At present, the Ministry of Economic Development is conducting an additional selection of banks to receive subsidies.

The government will bear part of the cost of this program, which will provide a subsidy to banks in the amount of 2.5 billion rubles. The maximum amount of loans granted to businesses will be determined based on the number of employed people and the minimum wage for a 6-month period. The estimated amount of support will be about 130 billion rubles, with 1.5 million employees covered by the program. At the same time, the state will assume 75% of guarantee coverage through VEB.

"For its part, the Central Bank has expanded the opportunity to receive our soft loans at 4% per annum to the widest possible range of banks. Approximately 90 banks will be able to participate in this program, which covers the vast majority of all small and medium-sized businesses," Mamuta said during a Central Bank webinar supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and featuring business associations (the RSPP, Opora of Russia, and Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia).

He also said that there is now another program underway to support SMEs, under which the final loan rate for borrowers should not exceed 8.5%.

"We have removed absolutely all sector-specific restrictions on this money, removed restrictions on the purpose of its use. This could be both fixed capital and working capital. Moreover, this money can be made available not only for small and medium-sized enterprises, but also for leasing companies. I know that there are a lot of questions about leasing, and I am drawing your attention to the fact that a leasing company can get cheap funding from the bank under this program to finance leasing services to SMEs. This should also make it easier to provide leasing holidays. There is one problem here, colleagues, the fact is that leasing companies, unlike banks and microfinance institutions, are not under the supervision of the Bank of Russia, so we cannot apply the same incentive regulation to them, give them some special rights as we do to banks and other creditors, but something can be done. I have mentioned the instrument of financial support, and now, together with the Ministry of Economic Development, we are working on the possibility of, say, providing additional opportunities for leasing holidays. This issue is under consideration," Mamuta said.