Vol. 5 Num 1092 Wed. June 27, 2007  

BB asks banks for lending SMEs
In a focus group discussion with the financial sector on Monday, the central bank urged the banks and financial institutions to lend small and medium enterprises (SMEs), says a press release.

Bangladesh Bank (BB) and IFC-SEDF jointly coordinated the discussion, a customer responsive initiative and one of several steps that the central bank has taken to increase access to finance for SMEs.

The BB sought feedback from the participants based on their experiences with the SME Refinancing Scheme.

The banks and financial institutions welcomed the initiative and asked for more frequent disbursements from the SME Fund run by the central bank.

Making his opening remarks at the programme, BB Executive Director Abul Quasem said, "Bangladesh Bank does not directly lend any entrepreneur. It can therefore only reach SMEs through banks and non-banking financial institutions. Keeping the goal in mind, it has introduced four schemes for refinancing SME sector encouraging banks to lend to SMEs."

Karma Karma, IFC senior financial markets specialist, opined that banks will be engaged in SME banking only if they see it as a profitable venture.