09:34 | 13/10/2016 Economy
Around VND178.11 trillion (US$7.98 billion) was lent to more than 19,150 businesses in HCM City in the first nine months of the year under a program that help connects banks with businesses, according to the State Bank of Viet Nam.
HCM City based businesses and VietinBank sign credit contracts at a meeting held in HCM City on October 10 — VNS Photo
Speaking at a meeting held in HCM City on October 10, To Duy Lam, director of SBV's HCM City branch, said the program had helped 25,769 businesses in the city access bank loans, with a total of VND405.72 trillion ($18.19 billion) disbursed since it began in 2012.
Le Duc Tho, general director of VietinBank, one of the pioneers of the program, said VietinBank had provided a total loan of VND250 trillion ($11.2 billion) in the period from 2012 to the end of last month.
In the first nine months of the year, it disbursed VND95 trillion, ranking first among commercial banks taking part in the programme, he said.
At the meeting, VietinBank's 21 branches in the city signed contracts to provide a total loan of VND32.87 trillion ($1.47 billion) to 104 small- and medium-sized firms, and businesses operating in the support, hi-tech and agricultural industries and export firms.
Including these loans, total disbursement for this year is estimated to be more than VND100 trillion ($4.48 billion), which is VND10 trillion higher than its registered figure for the prgramme this year, he said.
Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, said in the past four years, the program had enabled many businesses to access bank loans with simple procedures and less time, which greatly increased their productivity.
The city has set targets to maintain a high economic growth rate in the 2016-20 period by shifting its economic growth model and improving its competitiveness.
It plans to mobilize all resources to fulfill its targets, he said, adding that the city will work to further improve its business environment and better implement policies to boost the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups.
"The city pledges to implement the program connecting banks and businesses regularly and effectively, aiming to better support businesses," he said.
Tran Viet Anh, chairman and general director of Nam Thai Sơn Group, said the program had greatly helped ease funding difficulties faced by businesses over the past few years.
Representing the SME community, he suggested that banks become more active in supporting business and have fair treatment for all businesses.
In addition, banks need to focus more on providing medium-term loans, he said, adding that they should expand lending in the US dollar since the import of machinery and raw materials was at a high level.
Anh said the current maximum interest rate of 7 percent for short-term loans and around 9 percent for medium- and long-term loans in Vietnamese dong and 3 per cent for loans in the US dollar were reasonable.
Lam of SBV said the banking system in HCM City would continue to improve service quality, reform technology and take other measures to cut back input costs to reduce lending interest rates.
At the meeting, VietinBank and the HCM City Union of Business Associations signed agreements to promote the program to enable more businesses to get loans.
The meeting was organized by VietinBank, the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade and SBV's HCM City branch./.