Economy, Business And Markets

Agribank Cuts Lending Rate

The government is planning to increase Bank Keshavarzi’s capital by $961 million.The government is planning to increase Bank Keshavarzi’s capital by $961 million.
Coinciding with Government Week (Aug.23–29) lenders released details about their key investments in the past six months

Bank Keshavarzi (specializing in financing the agrol sector) has lowered the rate of its loans from 18% to 15%, announced the bank’s CEO on Sunday.

“The cost of the loans for our bank is higher than this; but we decided to proceed with rate cuts,” quoted Morteza Shahidzadeh as saying during a press conference.

Earlier in June, lenders agreed to bring one-year deposit rates from 18% to 15%. The decision was followed by Money and Credit Council’s decree requiring banks to offer loans approximately at 18%.

In a similar move, Bank Maskan, specialized in financing the housing sector, also cut its mortgage rates from 14% to 11%.

Shahidzadeh noted that his bank would meet all the commitments for financing medium and small-sized enterprises by September 6.

The Central Bank of Iran has ordered banks and credit institutions to allocate a minimum 10% of their loans to SMEs to help create jobs and lift the beleaguered production sector.

Referring to plans for lifting state-owned banks’ capital through Central Bank of Iran’s forex resources, Shahidzadeh said “the government is planning to increase Bank Keshavarzi’s capital by 30 trillion rials ($961.5 million), this year.”

He added that Keshavarzi has established correspondent relations with 70 banks across the globe since the lifting of the sanctions in January.  “We issued $4 billion worth of LCs during the previous fiscal year.”


  Cheaper Loans for Industries

In a separate development Saman Bank announced that it will work as the official agent bank of National Development Fund of Iran, providing businesses with cheap loans.

Alireza Marefat, director of the private lender’s corporate banking department, said “private companies and cooperatives, with a feasible business plan, would be eligible for discount loans.”

The government is offering cheaper loans to exporters through NDFI’s resources, in an attempt to promote non-oil exports.

 “The money would be allocated as a boost to exports and to provide working capital to companies active in industries, mining sector, tourism,” he added.

Marefat also noted that the construction sector is not included in the plan.

The government announced in June the NDFI will set aside 20 trillion rials ($577 million) for a year to support lending by Export Development Bank of Iran, Sepah Bank, Bank Saderat Iran, Bank Keshavarzi and Bank of Industries and Mines.

The banks will lend to the agricultural sector and knowledge-based industries at 14%. The lending rate to industrial plants will be higher at 16%. With current lending rates hovering near 25%, these loans will be considerably subsidized by the government.


  Other Banks

Bankers claim that they have started to lend various business sectors in line with the government’s plans for pulling markets out of the recession, create new jobs and revive operation of defunct industrial units.

Coinciding with Government Week (Aug.23–29) lenders have published details about their key investments during the past six months.

Bank Melli Iran announced that it has financed the establishment of 15 major projects, which are mostly active in petrochemical industry, healthcare, steel, cement and food industry.

“For instance, Golgohar Dorood Company, active in the food industry, got 1.04 trillion rials ($33.3 million) and AriaTransfoi Company in Semnan Province took out 4.5 billion rials in loans from the BMI,” the banks’ website reported on Sunday.

The BMI has also financed 2,006 SMEs with at 9.2 trillion rials ($294.8 million), since March. The bank also allocated 23 trillion rials ($727.1 million) to production units, to help them meet their working capital.

Bank Saderat Iran has participated in the development of 30 major projects during the past three years, including power plants, cement production units, as well as marine and tourism projects.

The BSI has approved applications for financing 14 major projects since the beginning of the fiscal year. According to IRNA, these projects will be financed with 1 trillion rials ($32 million) in the local currency, and $725 million and €311 million from BSI’s forex resources.

Tejarat Bank’s website reported that the bank has provided 584 SMEs with 7.4 trillion rials ($237.1 million) since March 20. Tejarat has also paid a total of 38 trillion rials ($1.2 billion) to larger companies during the said time.

Day Bank announced that it has allocated one billion rials ($6.4 million) for developing a railroad network across the country. Day has also issued 800 billion rials ($25.6 million) worth of bank guarantees for the development of the country’s railways.