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Central bank needs to offer more help to struggling SMEs: bankers

Central bank needs to offer more help to struggling SMEs: bankers

FRIDAY, July 03, 2020
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Bankers are calling on the central bank to provide more financial support to small businesses due to the lingering impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Payong Srivanich, president of Krungthai Bank, voiced concerns about a slower recovery and called on the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to begin providing financial support to its corporate clients, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 
He pointed out on Friday (July 3) that the central bank’s soft loan scheme, which allows SMEs to delay debt repayment for up to six months, comes to an end in October. He was referring to the Bt500 billion soft-loan scheme implemented by the central bank via commercial and state-run banks in April. 
Despite this scheme, he said, there has not even been a partial economic recovery because businesses operating under the “new normal” are subject to far too many restrictions.
Payong added that he hopes extra measures will be in the pipeline soon so they can be enforced once this financial aid comes to an end. SMEs still need support, he argued. 
Commercial banks have been trying to help SMEs by participating in the central bank’s soft loans scheme, he said, adding that bankers and the Bank of Thailand regularly discuss the issue of supporting borrowers who are suffering from the Covid-19 crisis.
He said the central bank has recently implemented Phase 2 of a measure to support retail borrowers, but this does not cover corporate clients.