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Banks target small, medium-sized businesses
16 | 10 | 2007
Commercial banks are eying small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as these businesses have been sprouting in recent time to account for 96 percent of the nation’s total non-state businesses.

The Industry and Commerce Bank of Viet Nam (ICB) has worked out a strategy centering on these potential clients, which include establishing a credit department dedicated to SMEs.

Targeting to become the leader in the field, ICB has launched seven credit programmes using the financing offered by international organisations, including the 37.5 million DM Viet Nam - Germany programme, which has given out money to close to 7,000 projects and the 130 billion VND SMEDF-EU credit programme, which has disbursed 63 billion VND.

The effort has paid off as to date, SMEs currently account for half of ICB's clients with their loans making up 60 percent of the bank's total credit.

ICB Director General Pham Huy Hung affirmed his bank will open its door wider to SMEs in the future.

For his part, Director General of the VIB Bank Le Dinh Long stated SMEs remain major and key customers of his bank even though most banks are shifting their attention to individuals.

Also joining the race is the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), which has defined SMEs as its priority clients.

Currently, Agribank is catering for 22,000 SMEs, which have by August borrowed loans that were 20 fold higher than the 2001 figure. The bank's plan is that SMEs' loan will account for 40 percent of its total lending by 2010.

Recognising the increasing role of SMEs, the Government has made commitments to support the growth of SMEs in particular and the household-based business community in general.

"The Government will spare no effort to create a favourable business environment and better the policies and mechanisms applied to household-based businesses to enable their access to financial and land resources, as well as training and trade promotion programmes," Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung affirmed at a recent conference to promote the growth of household-based businesses in Ha Noi.

However, there remains the fact that SMEs are struggling against difficulties to secure loans from banks.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has conducted a survey on 32,000 SMEs in the north and found that up to 67 percent of them complained about banks' procedures in order to get loans.

Household-based businesses currently number 250,000, making up 40 percent of the nation's GDP.

Source: VNA
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