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Center-invest Bank Increases Lending to Small Business

Since the start of 2019, Center-invest Bank has made 2726 loans to small businesses, for a total of RUB16.6bn. Over a third of these loans have been made under government-subsidised programmes. These results were presented by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Center-invest Bank, Dr Vasily Vysokov, at the XVII International Banking Forum "Banks of Russia — XXI Century" held in Sochi.

Government-subsidised loan programmes are popular due to the low interest rates and long terms offered. The lowest rate, 5% maximum, is made available to agricultural producers under a Russian Ministry of Agriculture programme. Center-invest Bank has made 581 loans for a total of RUB4.3bn under this programme.

Small businesses can access "long-term" loans with a rate of 8.5% per annum under a Russian Ministry for Economic Development programme. This preferential rate is available both for investment loans with a term of up to ten years and working capital loans with a term of up to three years. Companies operating in the trade sector can access loans with rates of 9.6% and 10.6% per annum under a programme run by the Federal SME Development Corporation. Under these two programmes, since the start of the year, Center-invest Bank has financed 133 projects for a total of RUB1.7bn.

"Center-invest Bank participates in all the government-subsidised programmes so that we can offer small businesses the best loan terms," said Dr Vasily Vysokov. "We also develop our own unique programmes for start-ups and female and social entrepreneurs."

Center-invest Bank has lent over RUB1bn to women in business. There continue to be no defaults on these loans, demonstrating that businesswomen are the most reliable customers and partners.

As at 1 September 2019, 732 new entrepreneurs had received RUB887m in loan funds to start their own businesses under the bank’s Accelerator programme. This includes free training, preferential finance and mentoring (