Banks.am had a conversation with ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK Deputy of SME, Corporate and Agricultural Business Norik Nazaryan.
- Mr. Nazaryan, what is the current situation in the sphere of corporate lending, how is the competition in the market?
- After the financial turmoil in the Armenian economy in 2013, there was passivity, mainly due to the crisis in Russia and the inflation of the ruble, which caused serious problems for our exporters, also influencing domestic companies. The total purchasing capacity of the population had fallen. Today the situation has improved. The exporters are signing prospective agreements, there is activeness among the processing companies in the sphere of agriculture. They are starting to work hard on expanding the geography of export, at the same time hitting the European and American markets. Moreover, last year RA Central bank defined a new, higher limit of total equity, which created interesting developments in the banking sector.
As a result of equity increase and bank incorporations a noticeable amount of free resources, which are to be distributed, particularly through increase of lending. We can register that there is a significant activeness in the market from January 2017.
- Recently you have launched a campaign of freeing the SMEs from interest rates. What are the results, and do you intend on making it continuous?
- I would like to emphasize that during the recent years with every our step we do everything to support the SMEs in Armenia and foster their development in Armenia. This initiative is another step to support our partners. This time we offered our customers to “freshen up their business” by giving them an opportunity not to repay interest amounts for the first 100 days and serve that amounts to their business development.
The campaign launched on May 10 and will last until August 1 (including). It also regards the loans in the amount of up to 100 MM AMD, with the duration of 3-6 months, which are disbursed by the bank from 12% annual interest rate in case of AMD, and 10% in case of USD and Euro. Moreover, we attached a number of products to the offer and freed the SMEs of their fees by offering packages. The package includes Green Leasing offered by “AGBA Leasing” with a 2% smaller interest rate.
There is a month left to the campaign, but the results are already satisfying.
Generally, we support and will continue supporting the SMEs, but the ways of support will differ from time to time.
- What other projects and products do you offer? Is ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK highly interested in SME lending?
- We offer the SMEs a wide range of banking tools from traditional loans to leasing (provided by the member of financial group “AGBA Leasing”).
SME lending has always been and will remain in the center of ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK’s attention. It takes around 30-33% of the bank’s loan portfolio: this share has remained the same during recent years, that means that it increases along with the increase of total portfolio. The number of our SME customers continuously increases due to the expansion of branch network and new innovative products launches.
- How much are the trainings organized for the SMEs demanded, can they be considered successful?
- Along with providing banking services, during the recent 3 years we initiated the organization of trainings for SME representatives, by which we share the best experience regarding financial, managerial and hotel business. The project is successful and from the beginning more than 600 representatives have taken part in the trainings. And this year we received an invitation and presented our experience to other organizations in the frameworks of the international business forum.
I would like to mention that only in May we have organized 2 events for SME representatives. Both of them were unprecedented: one was dedicated to leadership hosted by one of the leading professionals in the field-Martin Galstyan, and the other one was held in cooperation with the representation of “Microsoft” corporation in Armenia, in the frameworks of which successful examples of business digitization in Armenia and its perspectives. During the same event the a cooperation memorandum was signed, and we will inform about the news in the fall.