Eight Banks on Board to Deliver SME Loan Under SAAF Scheme
According to news reports, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has declared that eight banks are prepared to give collateral-free loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) under the SME Assan Finance (SAAF) program.
Habib Bank Ltd., United Bank Ltd., Allied Bank Ltd., Meezan Bank Ltd., Bank Alfalah Ltd., The Bank of Punjab, JS Bank Ltd., and The Bank of Khyber are the eight banks that have expressed interest in providing a loan to the SAAF. Under the program, commercial banks will offer collateral-free loans of up to 10 million PKR to SME borrowers.
According to the specifications, SBP Governor Reza Baqir claimed that the central bank would offer loans to commercial banks at a rate of 1%, which they would then refinance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at a maximum rate of 9% instead of the standard rate of 25% to 50%.
These loans will be made available without the need for collateral or credit history. The offered loans will be used for human resource development, technology, and process improvement.
In addition, SBP has set brackets for various loan amounts, with a central bank risk guarantee of 60% for loans of PKR 4 million, 50% for loans of PKR 5 million, and 40% for loans of PKR 10 million. Launched in August 2021, the SAAF program enables various small businesses to acquire loans at a reduced markup rate.
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