Cut in credit interest rates to expand Azerbaijan's population's access to finances
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 4 / Trend I. Khalilova /
In 2009, the combined assets of non-bank credit organizations (NBCO) increased by 30.9 percent to 183.8 million manat, Ziyad Samedzadeh, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on economic policy, was quoted by official newspapers as saying.
The combined credit investments of the NBCO were equivalent to 153.4 million manat, an increase of 28.5 percent. Part of the credit portfolio consists of consumer credits and small credits designed for entrepreneurial activity.
Operational in Azerbaijan are 31 microfinance organizations, including 18 non-bank credit organizations established by international organizations, one state non-bank credit organization
Agrar-Kredit, and microfinance banks. Currently, microfinance organizations are operational in 61 regions throughout Azerbaijan and serve more than 160,000 clients.
"To expand access to credits, currently, it is very important to get decrease of NBCO credit interest rates, which exceed bank-offered interest rates. It is essential to use domestic resources to accomplish this goal," Samedzadeh said.
In his opinion, development of the microfinance operations in the country and, as a result of general economic development, increase of the potential financial opportunities of domestic investors occurred not only at the price of donor organizations' finances; there were also established opportunities to meet physical persons and small- and middle-sized businesses' demand in finances at the price of domestic investments.
The head of the parliamentary committee believes that once the Law 'On non-bank credit organizations' is passed, the financial-banking system will develop, and population's access to finances will be eased. According to the existing legal provisions, NBCO can assign different kinds of credits (secured and unsecured money credits, and credits in the forms of factoring, forfeiting, leasing and letter of promise), provide guarantees, render services as an insurance agent, and provide consultative services to borrowers over financial and technical issues. However, NBCO are banned to receive deposits or make money transfers or carry out accounting operations.
Non-profit credit organizations, which will be able to operate only as a non-profit foundation, will be denied access to establishment of non-bank credit organizations. NBCO can be established by international organizations from countries, which have had agreements with Azerbaijan. Currently, investors are eager to establish a credit organization in the country; however, to accomplish this goal, they had awaited a law, which established the legal grounds for NBCO operation.
According to the new legal provisions, all NBCO operational in the country will be obliged to work applying international bookkeeping standards and launch corporate management standards. Apart from this, they will have access to the credit register, which has been part of the Central Bank since 2005.
March 4, the official exchange rate is 0.8033 manat to $2.
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