'It is better to give a higher rate, but for a longer time': Moscow asked to return terms for micro-loans to businesses
First Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustem Sibgatullin criticised the federal restrictions imposed when issuing microloans to support SMEs
First Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustem Sibgatullin tried to convince the officials of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia to return the three-year term for repayment of concessional loans instead of the two-year period introduced due to the lockdown on 10 June. With the introduction of these restrictions, the monthly payment automatically became larger and it became harder to repay loans. The participants of the industry conference spoke out for a longer period — up to five years.
Regional state funds in Kazan
Concessional loans for resuming the work after the forced shutdown during the pandemic and microloans to replenish working capital helped businesses to survive, and state funds in providing support turned out to be more flexible and mobile than banks, the participants of the All-Russian Forum “Entrepreneurial Microfinancing. Season III” reported on 10 June. . It brought together more than 90 representatives of non-profit microfinance organisations with the participation of the state from 47 regions of the country. Their capitalisation varies from 200 million rubles to 2,5-3 billion rubles, but they are united by a common tool for business development — lending.
With the appearance of such organisations in the regions, they began to move away from the practice of direct subsidies to returnable mechanisms for supporting small and medium-sized businesses, and the funds themselves merged into MiR SRO. At the forum, the director of the industry association, Elena Stratyeva, called on the representatives of the funds to identify the main problems facing the federal authorities in regulating their activities, since even after the pandemic, businesses will need their support. However, Tatarstan turned out to be the main mouthpiece of the community's problems.
“We say that people need support, but we made it worse”
“Is it possible to remove the restrictions faster," First Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustem Sibgatullin raised the urgent problem of all regional funds, addressing Olesya Teterina, the deputy director of the Department of Investment Policy and Entrepreneurship Development of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, via video conferencing.
According to him, the introduction of federal restrictions on the repayment of loans from 3 to 2 years worsened the situation of entrepreneurs, as the monthly payment automatically became larger and it became harder to return it.
We are talking about preferential loans issued by business support funds in the regions. Two years ago, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Economic Development, the maximum loan amount was increased from 3 to 5 million rubles, and during the self-isolation regime, the regulator decided to reduce the term from 36 to 24 months. According to the officials, the rapid repayment of loans was supposed to increase the volume of assistance issued, but in fact, led to difficulties with servicing.
“The self-employed also say — it is better to give us an increased rate, but increase the loan repayment period. Then the monthly payment will be less," the deputy minister of economy of the Republic of Tatarstan explained. According to him, it has become harder for entrepreneurs to repay the loan in a shorter period. “We say that people need support, but they've made it worse," he said, and the forum audience supported him.
“These restrictions apply because of the lockdown," Olesya Teterina tried to argue. “First of all, we should help those who are in a difficult situation.”
“But where's the logic?" Rustem Sibgatullin asked again. “If people say: 'Give it for three years', and for some unknown reason we say: 'We can't, we have restrictions.' I don't know if my colleagues will support me… Who's for a three-year offer?" he turned to the audience.
At this point, the camera was turned to the audience and showed a forest of hands from the audience. “It is better up to five years!” someone shouted from the audience. In response, the representative of the ministry, Olesya Teterina, promised to include this issue in the “framework of the budget process” for next year.
“It seems that the logic is to issue micro-loans to a larger number of SMEs, but this is inconvenient for businesses," Sibgatullin explained in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya. “It's a simple math — to get 5 million rubles and give it in 24 months or 36 months. It is clear that you will have to return more per month with a two-year return period.”
Loans have been “tied” to Central Bank's key rate since 1 June
The director general of the Entrepreneurship Support Fund, Aydar Salikhov, said which loans turned out to be the most popular among businesses during the pandemic. A third of the portfolio was given to those enterprises that were not included in the list of the most affected industries. To treat the business, the fund launched a product at 1% for 2 years. It was issued 354 microloans in the amount of more than 250 million. Since September, they stopped issuing loans at 1% and launched the universal product Perezagruzka for all enterprises. It accounted for 32% of the portfolio. Loans were issued for 300 million rubles at 6% per annum. In total, since the foundation of the fund in 2014, more than 2,500 loans worth 4,4 billion rubles have been issued
Radical changes have taken place since 1 June, when the fund abandoned the fixed rate of 6% in favour of a floating one. The interest rate on loans was tied to the key rate of the Central Bank. This is the right of the region to determine how to form the cost of funding itself.
“Previously, there was a rate at 6% per annum, and since June 1, the rate was lowered to 5% in the correlation of the Central Bank," Aydar Salikhov said. At the same time, he does not rule out that after the Central Bank's increase, the borrowing rate will be raised.
Tatarstan Fund is going to catch up with Krasnodar Fund
Another important news was that the fund intends to increase its capitalisation by 400 million rubles — up to 2,5 billion rubles. In this case, the Tatarstan fund will catch up with the leader — the entrepreneurship support fund of the Krasnodar Krai, whose capitalisation has reached 3 billion rubles.
The dynamics of issuing loans is as follows. In 2019, 399 loans were issued worth 934,6 million rubles, 685 loans worth 1,4 billion rubles — in 2020. Since the beginning of this year, 225 loans worth 351,7 billion rubles have been issued, Aydar Salikhov reported. In total, it is planned to issue 621 loans worth 1,2 billion rubles by the end of the year. Here he reported on the problem of lending to social entrepreneurs: according to him, only one loan has been issued.
“But not because they don't apply, and the conditions are like this. They must be in the register of social entrepreneurs. Only 12 entrepreneurs have been included, and only one got a loan. This year there are going to be 100 of them. And they will have the opportunity to apply for loans," Salikhov explained.