Unibank: SMEs become more active in taking loans
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 20
By Azad Hasanli - Trend:
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Azerbaijan have become more active in taking loans, Faig Huseynov, chairman of the board of the country’s Unibank, told Trend.
In particular, this was facilitated by initiatives to increase the value of non-cash settlements, for example, the adoption of the relevant law, the limitation of cash withdrawal and others, he said.
“Such measures led to the fact that companies began to carry out operations on accounts more actively, which in turn allowed banks to receive additional revenues,” he noted. “At the same time, the culture of relations between SMEs and banks has grown.”
As for the situation in the market as a whole, banks still continue to recover, he added.
“Banks became more active, but they are still in the recovery process,” he said. “Without issuing loans, we won’t earn anything, and without earning, we won’t restore the figures that were lost, so we cannot stand still.”
The market is now stable, and the consumer solvency has been restored, he noted.
“The way of life and behavior of consumers has changed, but banks have also changed their approach to lending - they have become more selective in choosing borrowers,” the chairman of the board said.
For the year [from June 2017 to June 2018], 10,366 small companies opened in Azerbaijan, and more than 5,000 companies opened since the beginning of the year. The development of SMEs is one of the priorities of the Azerbaijani government. To this end, a specialized agency was also created, and the Ministry of Taxes plans to introduce tax incentives for this category of entrepreneurs.
In May 2018 [according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan], lending to trade and services sphere increased by 5.9 percent compared to the beginning of the year, to almost 2.2 billion manats, agriculture and processing - by almost 2.2 percent, to 438.5 million manats. Lending to the sphere of production and industry grew by 73 percent, to 1.07 billion manats, construction sector - 3.2 times, reaching 1.76 billion manats.
According to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, in general, at the beginning of June 2018, Azerbaijan’s credit institutions increased lending by 1.6 percent compared to the beginning of the year, to 11,945.5 million manats.
(1.7 manats = 1 USD on Aug. 20)
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