SME D Bank hastens giving out B40bn to small firms

SME D Bank hastens giving out B40bn to small firms

The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME D Bank) is speeding up disbursement of soft loans worth 40 billion baht to help SMEs cope with the pandemic.

The loan scheme is expected to help 24,000 businesses, create 120,000 jobs and contribute 90 billion baht to the country, says the Industry Ministry.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said the government has prepared various projects to help SME entrepreneurs, including the Extra Cash scheme for tourism and related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, spas, tour boats and car rental.

Business operators will be granted loans of up to 3 million baht each at an annual interest of 3% for the first two years, without collateral, he said.

Another project is the Local Economy Loan scheme, which will offer 3 million baht per business with annual interest of 3% for the first three years without collateral. This project aims to "level up" the community-based economy, said Mr Suriya.

"The ministry also ordered SME D Bank to extend the debt suspension period for businesses from six months to two years," he said.

Mr Suriya also wants payment contracts to be extended to 5-10 years, up from between 5-7 years, because SME businesses need time to pay their debts.

SME D Bank president Nartnaree Rattapat said the bank has approved rescue measures to help 9,458 businesses, worth 14.9 billion baht.

Recently the committee for SME development funds under the Pracha Rat scheme also approved loans for 10,000 businesses worth 1.7 billion baht for drought and pandemic relief.

The loan scheme offers up to 1 million baht per business with annual interest of 1% for five years, on condition that an applicant has made scheduled debt payments on previous loans for the past 12 months and has no non-performing loans.

The Bank of Thailand is also running soft loan projects by offering new loans to existing customers in order to increase their liquidity and use the money as working capital.

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