Economy, Business And Markets

18.4% Rise in Banks’ Lending Portfolio

18.4% Rise in Banks’ Lending Portfolio 18.4% Rise in Banks’ Lending Portfolio

Iranian banks allotted loans worth 1.533 quadrillion rials ($40.2 billion) to various economic sectors during the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 21), indicating an 18.4% growth compared with the same period of last year.

According to latest data published by the Central Bank of Iran via its official website, the lion’s share of loans has once again gone to meet working capital requirements of different sectors. The figure stood at 955.8 trillion rials ($25.07 billion) accounting for 64.9% of total credits, which also shows a 13.4% increase.

Furthermore, 39.9% of working capital loans equivalent to 397.785 trillion rials ($10.4 billion) were doled out to prop up the industries and mines. Working capital aside, the sector also managed to attract 60.9 trillion rials ($1.6 billion).

Iranian banks have been under pressure from authorities to direct more of their funds toward production and industrial units, despite their high ratio of bad debts and thin capital positions.  

The services sector received the highest portion of total loan allocation. Companies active in the sector received more than 626.85 trillion rials ($16.4 billion), grabbing 40.9% of the total credits.

This is while the beleaguered housing sector registered the lowest amount among all economic sectors. The value stood at 113.600 trillion rials ($2.98 billion), which shows that the sector has been given short shrift despite its key role in the economy.  

As cited by CBI, the agriculture sector gained more loans compared to the housing sector. The figure reached 115.283 trillion rials ($3.02 billion), which is also low, considering the sector’s share in the country’s economic cake.

 Loan Numbers

With regard to the number of loans doled out during the period, banks extended a total of 1,533,135 loans to different sectors, with the services sector once again pocketing the largest number at 1,184,742 loans, which equal 77.3% of the total figure.

Despite their low volume of loans, the agriculture and housing sectors come next in terms of loan numbers. Lenders extended 393,061 and 251,842 loans to the two sectors respectively.

A review of the number of allocated loans to different sectors reveals that the average value of each loan that went to the industrial and mining sector was considerably higher than that extended to other sectors. Lenders paid out 6.5 billion rials ($170,470) on average to each of the 70,417 applicants in the above sector.

The second place for average value of loan-per-individual went to the trade sector valued at 885.1 million rials ($23,213) for each of the 214,815 loans.

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif on Saturday called on the chief executives of banks to prioritize financing small- and medium-sized enterprises in the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2018) as they did last year.

During the previous fiscal year to March 20, 2017, a total of 24,232 production enterprises received more than 170 trillion rials ($4.5 billion) worth of loans from lenders as part of the banking system’s efforts to revitalize the sluggish production sector.

Bank credits in support of industries are flowing but leading businesspeople and pundits have called for greater attention to fundamental reforms such as improving the business climate and overhauling the tax system to address production.

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