State banks line up loans for businesses in EEC

State banks line up loans for businesses in EEC

State-run financial institutions stand ready to provide liquidity to around 175,000 business operators in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to help them deal with the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The move is in line with the policy of Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith that the state-run banks join forces to support the EEC, which has been touted as Thailand's new economic engine.

The EEC covers land in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, accommodating investment in targeted industries and focusing largely on advanced technology.

Government Savings Bank (GSB) president Vitai Ratanakorn said the bank is ready to help business operators, investors and individuals in the area to get easier access to loans and services. These include loans with a lower interest rate and a longer repayment term.

One of the loan packages is GSB Smooth BIZ for small and medium-sized enterprises. It carries a fixed interest rate of 2.99% per year in the first two years, and with a repayment period of 10 years. The maximum loan amount is 20 million baht per borrower.

The bank also offers a loan for retail business operators to act as a revolving fund, or to repay their loan-shark debt. The maximum loan is limited to 200,000 baht per borrower and with a flat monthly interest rate of 1%. The repayment period is 10 years. Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) also provides a full guarantee to this loan.

GSB has yet to finalise the total loan amount for this scheme but it is confident that it has sufficient liquidity to offer this package.

The Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank) president, Rak Vorrakitpokatorn, said the bank has launched the EXIM EEC Plus package loan for all types and sizes of business that want to invest in the EEC.

The loan carries a low interest rate of 2% per year and offers up to 100 million baht per borrower. The repayment period is 10 years. The bank initially set aside 1 billion baht for the project.

On a separate note, Mr Arkhom has said he is confident the Thai economy this year will expand by over 1%, boosted by strong exports and the rising price of farm produce.

He added that the economy expanded 2% in the first half of this year. The economy in the fourth quarter is expected to be strong following the reopening of the country on Nov 1 to international tourists.

The ministry has yet to decide whether or not to launch additional stimulus measures in the final quarter of this year, he said.

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