Commercial banks present opportunities for access to finance for businesses affected by COVID-19

Prishtina, July 2, 2020 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo organized a virtual conference regarding access to finance for businesses. During this conference, representatives of commercial banks had the opportunity to present their current offers and products through which they aim to help businesses confront the crisis caused by the impact of restrictive measures for preventing the spread of the pandemic, as well as facilitate access to finances for businesses that may need new investments once the pandemic ends.

Milazim Abazi, Chairperson of AmCham’s Finance Committee, while speaking about the many problems businesses are facing at this time, with special emphasis on those regarding liquidity, stated that it is imperative for the  private sector to be offered additional support from commercial banks beyond the measures agreed upon in cooperation with the Central Bank to postpone installments. According to Abazi, conform with bank capacities, local businesses also need easier access to finance in order to resume their normal operations.

Adonis Bllacaku, Head of Business Department at BPB Bank, said that this bank has created specific packages to facilitate access to finance for micro-businesses, a category which is in main focus for support by this bank. He stated that aiming to further support businesses, BPB has approved new limits of up to 30% of the usual limit for existing customers, thus enabling companies to access additional funds for the development and resumption of their activities. According to Bllacaku, this percentage of additional funds is not final and the bank is open to other options, while emphasizing that recommendations from businesses for further products development are more than welcome.

Lulzim Tahiri, SME Banking Department Manager at TEB Bank, said that there have been no interruptions in crediting processes within the bank even during this time, while extentions of the credit lines have been offered to TEB Bank’s existing clients. Haxhiu said that  as a result of the crisis caused by COVID-19, beyond the postponement of loan installments TEB has also allocated funds for loans which are specifically dedicated to support businesses in covering payment of salaries and other operational costs, as well as funds for supplies, depending on the type of business. According to Tahiri, all support measures have been taken in accordance with the recommendations of the Central Bank of Kosovo.

Armend Haxhiu, Head of the Business Department at ProCredit Bank, stressed that this bank has not stopped the crediting processes either, while it has also offered the deferral of loan payments for customers experiencing financial difficulties, in accordance with the recommendations of the CBK. Haxhiu said that as a result of the various difficulties created by the pandemic, ProCredit has entered agreements with international financial institutions which have provided credit lines to further support Kosovar businesses. He noted that ProCredit Bank in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has created an offer to support investments in electronic platforms for online sales which have proven imperative, especially during this time.