Stimulus loans: BB approves Tk4,000cr against 300 firms

  • Dhaka Tribune  June 29th, 2020
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The central bank had received a huge number of proposals from different banks. After verifying the proposals, the BB had so far approved loans in favour of 300 firms

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has approved around Tk4,000 crore in loan proposals of banks against 300 firms under the stimulus packages for industries and service sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has announced stimulus packages totaling over Tk1,00,000 crore to overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus, including a Tk30,000 crore package for industries and service sectors.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, a high official of the central bank said the central bank had received a huge number of proposals from different banks. After verifying the proposals, the BB had so far approved loans in favour of 300 firms, to be borrowed from the Tk30,000 crore stimulus packages earmarked for affected industries and service sectors, he added.

The banks had already started disbursing the approved loans, the central banker said.

In May this year, the central bank set a limit on how much working capital a bank could lend to the coronavirus affected firms. Bangladesh Bank had fixed limits based on the existing working capital loans of borrowers.

The loans or investment must be within 30% of the existing working capital loans of borrowers as of December 31, 2019, as per Bangladesh Bank guidelines on  the stimulus package.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited has the highest limit of Tk2,800 crore. Talking to Dhaka Tribune, the bank’s  deputy managing director, Abu Reza Mohd. Yeahia said  many clients had applied for working capital loans from the stimulus package.

“We are yet to approve any working capital loans,” Yeahia said.

The City Bank’s working capital loan limit was fixed at Tk1,023 crore. The bank’s managing director, Mashrur Arefin, said the bank had received the BB’s approval for the disbursement of around Tk300 crore.

“We have already initiated the disbursement process,” Mashrur said.

The loan limit for Exim Bank was fixed at Tk994 crore. Of the total, the bank has already disbursed Tk170 crore; Eastern Bank has disbursed Tk355 crore; Sonali Bank  has disbursed Tk1,000 crore and Agrani Bank has disbursed Tk19 crore, according to banking sources.

On April 12, the central bank launched the stimulus package, allowing banks to get an interest subsidy of 4.50% on disbursed loans, which end-users will get at a 9% interest rate.

The BB later formed a Refinance Scheme of Tk15,000 crore for lenders to implement the stimulus package.

Under the scheme, banks will get funds in the form of working capital at 4% interest from the BB, while clients will get it at 9%.

In order to receive the refinance scheme, banks will have to give at least 50% loan to industrial and service sector firms from their own sources.

On June 25, the BB informed scheduled banks that they could lend stimulus loans to affected businesses over a three-year period, instead of one year, to lessen liquidity pressure from local lenders.

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