Monday, September 28 2020

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Bắc Ninh banks offer support to keep businesses afloat

Update: May, 13/2020 - 08:20
A customer at the Vietcombank's branch in Bắc Ninh. The branch has had a credit package of VNĐ30 trillion with attractive interest rates to help businesses in the province. VNA/VNS Photo Thai Hung

BẮC NINH — Banks in Bắc Ninh Province are offering reduced interest rate loans to businesses to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyễn Hương Giang, chairwoman of Bắc Ninh People's Committee, said the support is crucial to ensure companies stay afloat during these troubled times.

Financial institutes have also sped up the reform of administrative procedures to reduce the time it takes to review loan applications.

Nguyễn Thạc Quảng, Deputy Director of the State Bank’s Bắc Ninh branch, said as of April 28, banks and credit institutions restructured debts of 831 enterprises with a total value of about VNĐ3.6 trillion. They also provided new loans with preferential interest rates for 2,228 customers with a total value of about VNĐ9.3 trillion.

Since April 1, the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (BIDV)’s branch in Bắc Ninh has had a credit package of VNĐ100 trillion with annual interest rates that have reduced by 1-2.5 per cent compared to interest rates before the pandemic.

This has helped firms stabilise production and business, said Nguyễn Trọng Chí, deputy director of the BIDV’s Bắc Ninh branch.

The branch has also reviewed production, business and damages of 96 enterprises in Bắc Ninh that have borrowed a total of VNĐ1.7 trillion from the BIDV, especially enterprises in tourism, agriculture and exports.

The bank found that many of them saw a dramatic drop in sales and some had to stop business. Other enterprises lacked materials, equipment and workers.

A drop in revenue has left many companies feeling the pinch, and some have struggled repaying interest for loans, he said, adding that this will lead an increase in bad debts over the rest of the year.

Vietcombank’s branch in Bắc Ninh has also had a credit package of VNĐ30 trillion with interest rates falling by 2-2.5 per cent compared to pre-pandemic rates to help companies.

Enterprises producing essential goods can obtain loans with a reduction of 2.5 per cent in annual interest rates to 4.5-5 per cent, said Bùi Thị Ngọc Bích, director of Vietcombank’s Bắc Ninh branch.

In addition, the bank has cut bank transfers fees for organisations and individuals from April 1 until December 31.

Nguyễn Kim Cương, Director of the Bắc Hà Transport Cooperative, said his business had borrowed a mid-term capital worth VNĐ40 billion from the BIDV Bắc Ninh with an annual interest rate of 10.5 per cent and a working capital of VNĐ16 billion with an annual interest rate of 8.5 per cent.

However because fewer people had been travelling by bus, the bank had reduced those interest rates to 9.5 per cent for the mid-term loan and 7.5 per cent for the working capital.

It also offered a special support package with new loans with interest rates of 7 per cent per year.

This created good conditions for the cooperative to cope during the pandemic as well as prepare ways to resume operations after the country gradually gets back to normal, Cương said.

Giang also said that Bắc Ninh had promoted administrative reforms to support businesses in resuming production.

The province had specific plans to improve further the business and investment environment, including the implementation of online public administrative services.

The provincial Department of Industry and Trade had asked for a review of the situation and demand for input materials.

It was hoped the results of that review would find ways to ensure sufficient supply for production activities.

The province would also restructure its economy developing high technology, the support industry and agriculture.

Bắc Ninh had assessed labour situations to support people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and help businesses find alternative labour if needed, Giang said.

The Bắc Hà Transport Cooperative had to suspend 120 buses and revenue in the first three months of the year fell by 40 per cent compared to 2019.

The company made no money in the whole of April.

However, the cooperative must still pay wages during the suspension period to maintain its skilled workforce for when the buses get back on the road. — VNS

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