From the beginning of 2020, the difficulties caused by the coronavirus set new rules for business. In many cases, the created difficulties can be the new start and beginning of new opportunities for businesses. What was the situation like in the Armenian business sector at the beginning and during the epidemic and what can we expect in the future, as well as about new opportunities created through state-funded programs. We talked about these and other business topics with Arsen Melkonyan, the Deputy CEO Business Operations Coordination of ACBA Bank.
- What was the situation in the Armenian business sector at the beginning of the epidemic?
- Initially we were dealing with some confusion, which, I think, was due to lack of information. The business was at unawares, but after a while the adaptation phase began. During this crisis, the main guarantees and tools for the continuous provision of normal business activities were identified and highlighted: organization of remote work, new security rules, definition of other rules of conduct to organize the work process accurately, etc. All this greatly helped to stabilize the situation. These behavioral changes manifested in everyone – the employers, the employees and the customers.
- What is the current situation in the Armenian business sector?
- In this situation, we can conditionally divide the business into three large groups.
The first large group includes companies that are not currently operating. For example, hotels, the activities of which are mainly due to external tourism. At this stage, I think it is unrealistic to expect these organizations to be active.
The second group – the enterprises, businesses, which have a certain decline compared to the past, but the current activity in this situation allows them to ensure some stability.
And the third group – businesses that have not been affected by the coronavirus and have also seen some growth. We are talking about the enterprises that did not have and do not have a sales problem. They even registered growth rates. And, of course, these businesses have a very good opportunity to grow.
- About state-supported programs. What role did these programs play in the current situation? What opportunities do businesses get?
- State-supported programs have played a cornerstone role in stabilizing the situation. But it is important to note that these plans were not a lifeline. In general, all companies have suffered from the coronavirus, and we consider these programs as a good opportunity for business growth and development and, why not, for crediting at a substantially good interest rate of 0%, which under normal circumstances, we understand that it was impossible. Businesses should try to look at this opportunity not from the position of the affected organization, but consider these programs as a new opportunity to develop and re-profile.
- What can we expect in the future?
- We can happily state that in this difficult situation we have partners who have not only been able to ensure stability, but also to expand, establish and develop their activities. It is very important for the economy of our country to develop the adaptation capabilities of the business sector in possible new situations. For example, flexibility is needed in business transformation opportunities to become digital. We, in our turn, in the past and now, are ready to move forward step by step or with big leaps with our partners.
ACBA Bank has proved for many times the fact that it stands firmly by its partners. From the first day of the crisis, we have responded intensively, most importantly, with an individualized approach to the problems faced by all our partners. We have used a wide range of tools: provision of total credit leave, cancellation of various types of payments, new, extended repayment schedules have been developed. At this stage, the interest rates on loans have been provided as low as possible, taking into account that in the current situation it is necessary to fight hand in hand, manage the risks together, and if there are some difficulties, distribute them among us and our partners to overcome the problems together.
You can get acquainted with the terms of the loans provided by the first state support program here.
You can get acquainted with the terms of the state subsidy program for interest rates on loans provided to the agro-processing sector for the processing (purchase) of agricultural raw materials here.
You can apply for state support agricultural loan subsidy programs at the following link.