The BCRA’s announcement of loans already granted for $ 60,000 million does not alleviate the concern: only 3% of those who applied for credit had approval
When the Government announced that there would be help to SMEs could pay the wages of its employees despite the economic unemployment caused by the pandemic of Covid-19 Many were the expectations that were generated. The Minister of Production, Matías Kulfas, mentioned then that the banks They could lend up to $ 350 billion at a subsidized rate of up to 24% per year so that SMEs could pay salaries. Thursday the central bank reported that banks have barely loaned $ 60,236 million, considerably less than expected.
This has caused annoyance in the ministry that Kulfas commands, where they expected banks to respond more energetically to the request made to them from the government as soon as quarantine was decreed, almost a month ago. The production minister said a couple of days ago that he expected this week “to accelerate the granting of credits,” but that did not happen.
From the Argentine Chamber of Medium Business (CAME) were also angry at the situation. According to a survey carried out on 1,100 cases across the country, only 3% of companies that applied for loans to pay wages did so. And just over 50% of CAME affiliates were able to pay the March wages, the rest partially paid or were still unable to pay the wages.
In reality, the situation of SMEs vis-à-vis banks is very difficult and delicate. Financial institutions do not like the idea that their debtors are small companies, it is not known if they will survive the economic crisis that is expected to occur in the coming months. “Many think they are bad loans“, they recognized in a private entity. And for that reason they put obstacles when it comes to lending.
A good part of the credits granted was channeled through the National Bank, which is logical, since it has more than 700 branches throughout the country and more than 120,000 companies among its clients. However, in the Nation they admitted that “the majority of the credits granted went to SMEs that, in addition to being clients, pay the salaries of their employees through us, which means that they have their folders and their qualifications updated and it is much more easy to lend them, “said spokesmen for the entity.
It’s what most banks do: they lend to those customers in credit situation 1 and 2, who pay wages through their bank accounts, and leave those with outdated folders or who are not customers in a drawer.
To date, the Nation has approved loans for $ 34,547 million, but has only deposited just over $ 8,000 in the accounts of clients who were fortunate enough to have their loans approved. This data was presented to him by the owner of the bank, Eduardo Hecker, to the president Alberto Fernández. Both analyzed the situation of SMEs, and concluded that loans alone will not be the solution, since they will reach – at most – for companies to cover one-month salary payments. And then? How will those companies do to pay May wages?
Many prefer not to go ahead and think about it these days. And they settle for trying to get a loan from the bank with which they operate to be able to pay April wages. In the SantanderFor example, they have already loaned $ 6,750 million to some 6,200 SMEs who are their clients and who entered this line of credit that provides a payroll at a nominal annual rate of 24% (12 months) and with a grace period of three months.
In the case of Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires (Bapro), what they offer is the possibility of using the overdraft in the account for an amount equivalent to a payroll, also at 24% per year but to be returned in 90 days. This tool has already been requested and granted to some 2,137 companies.
However, all this is insufficient in an economy that can hardly open before the end of winter (which has not yet begun) and the pandemic is perhaps a distant memory. Although not the economic recession.
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