by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE banking system as a whole disbursed RM120 billion in lending and financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the first half (H1) of 2020.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said a total of 65,597 accounts were approved in H1 2020, which was higher than the 57,367 accounts in the same period last year.
“The average financing size, however, declined with more SMEs applying for lower financing amounts, mainly to tide through the pandemic,” it said in its Financial Stability Review – First Half 2020 released today.
It said policy measures, including credit guarantee schemes and easier access to the fund, also continued to support access to financing for SMEs.
BNM said to date, banking institutions have facilitated requests for repayment assistance of close to 480,000 individuals and 34,400 SMEs in COVID-19-affected sectors.
The central bank said it enhanced the existing financing facilities under the BNM’s Fund for SMEs and increased the allocation of these facilities to ease lending/financing conditions for viable SMEs during this challenging period, complementing the financing schemes offered by the government and financial institutions.
It said BNM’s Fund for SMEs’ allocation was expanded by RM9 billion to RM18.1 billion to support lending to SMEs.
Of this amount, it said, RM10 billion was provided under the Special Relief Facility (SRF) which was introduced specifically to support the cash flow needs of viable SMEs affected by the pandemic.
It said a total of 21,000 SMEs received assistance under the SRF which helped to preserve more than 450,000 jobs in SMEs across states and business sectors.
BNM said SMEs were also able to avail themselves of other financing facilities under the fund, with RM2.6 billion worth of funds still available for new applications as at end-September 2020.
It added that these facilities have helped to temper signs of some tightening in bank lending/financing to SMEs.