Bangkok Bank continues submitting soft loan applications to the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to support small and medium sized businesses (SME). The 24-month soft loan, which has an interest rate of 2% per annum, and a grace period for the first six months, will help increase SME liquidity. The Bank is now expanding the distribution of soft loans to a wider group of SMEs to help them to maintain their businesses. The credit line is calculated to ensure it will not create too much burden for customers. The first group of customers who received the soft loans have received liquidity which will enable them to retain their employees.
Bangkok Bank Senior Executive Vice President Siridej Aungudomsin said to access the BOT’s supportive measures for SMEs affected by COVID-19, namely soft loans amounting to 500 million baht at a 2% interest rate per annum with a grace period for the first six months, Bangkok Bank has continuously submitted soft loan applications of eligible customers to the BOT without any charge or additional requirement to purchase a life insurance policy. Required collateral is based on the risk level of each customer, including the credit history and ability of the business to adjust and recover.
“The Bank is focusing on distributing support to a wider group of entrepreneurs who are affected by COVID-19. The soft loans will provide businesses with liquidity and support with operating expenses, especially staff salaries. This will support employment and help businesses to restart once the situation improves”.
Mr. Siridej added that besides the soft loans, the Bank will also help SMEs by assigning the Bank’s officers in each area to take care of and provide advice to customers. This includes adjusting credit line conditions and repayment plans to be in line with current income as well as debt restructuring so customers can get through the current situation. The Bank is also monitoring issues that may affect customers’ businesses in the future by working with customers closely and continually.
Mr. Kittivut Sasivimonpan Managing Director of Metal Building (Thailand) Company Limited, which manufactures high quality metal roofs and steel structures, was in the first group that received approval for the Bank’s soft loans. He said that the current situation has greatly impacted their business operation as workers have not been able to enter customers’ working sites, so schedules for product installation and payment collection has been disrupted. He said: “Even though schedules have been delayed, we have already hired the workers, so we have to pay for their accommodation and food. The soft loan we obtained will help our business to overcome our liquidity problem and we will be able to take care of our nearly one hundred employees.”
“For every business, cash flow is our lifeblood. It enables our business continuity, especially in times of crisis. Without it, a business finds it hard to move forward, especially when we do not know how long this situation will last. In the meantime a business has to shoulder expenses that increase day by day and take care of employees to minimize the effect of the crisis. Therefore, the soft loan will help ease the burden of a business owner, Mr. Kittivut added.
Dr. Wiravan Mooltripakdee, the founder of Mooltripakdee International School, Pattaya in Chonburi province was also in the first group that received the Bank’s soft loan approval. She said that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a severe impact on the school which needs at least 14 million baht per month to take care of 218 teachers and staff. The school’s income has decreased and the budget has gone off track as the school has lowered the burden of parents by reducing tuition fees by 20-40%, extending the fee collection period, and allowing parents to pay tuition fees in installments. “At present, many parents are being affected very badly, so we try to help each other to overcome this situation,” she said.
“This is the heaviest crisis we have encountered over the past 10 years. To cope with the situation, we are trying to reduce our costs by both delaying non-urgent development plans and cutting wages of teachers and staff. All are cooperating as they understand the necessity. However, we could not cut or suspend any costs related to skill development and knowledge enhancement for our students. Therefore, applying for the soft loan will help increase our liquidity and maintain our teaching standards. Moreover, we can take care of our personnel, prepare properly for the school opening, and start teaching via online channels”.
SMEs that are eligible to participate in the soft loan scheme have qualifications as prescribed by the BOT. The preliminary qualifications are being juristic persons or individuals with a business registered, located and operated in Thailand; the business must not be registered within the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) or the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI); business operators must have a total credit line with the Bank not exceeding 500 million baht and repayment status must be normal or not more than 90 days overdue (not yet an NPL) as of December 31, 2019. Those who interested can ask for more information and advice from the Bank’s relationship officers at their home branch, contact Bualuang Phone 1333 or 0 2645 5555, or visit https://www.bangkokbank.com/th-TH/COVID19-Update