Banks' MSME loans below required level

Banks' MSME loans below required level

BANK loans to micro, small and medium-sized firms (MSMEs) were still below the required level as of the end of March this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.

The “Magna Carta for MSMEs,” also known as Republic Act 6977, called for P875.56 billion in funding for MSMEs throughout the time, but only P446.98 billion was allocated for that purpose, according to the most recent data from the central bank.

The sum was far less than the required minimum of 10 percent, at only 5.11 percent of the total loanable funds of P8.75 trillion as of the first quarter of this year.

Loans totaling P351.59 billion were given out by big lenders, P48.52 billion by thrift institutions and P46.86 billion by rural and cooperative banks.

The most recent data confirmed the results of the BSP's Senior Bank Loan Officers' Survey conducted in the first quarter of 2022, which showed that banks tightened their lending standards for business loans between January and March of this year.

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According to bank respondents, “the reported tightening of overall lending standards was mainly due to the deterioration of borrower's profile and profitability of bank's portfolio as well as reduced tolerance for risk and less favorable economic outlook,” the survey stressed.

It also said the net tightening of overall lending criteria was represented in terms of specific credit standards by stiffer collateral requirements and loan covenants, smaller credit lines, and a greater use of interest rate floors. In the meantime, smaller lending margins and longer loan maturities indicated a net loosening of credit criteria.

While a greater proportion of responding banks expect to maintain overall credit standards for business loans, the DI-based approach continued to show expectations of net tightening loan standards given increased uncertainty in the outlook for economic growth, decreased risk tolerance and a decline in borrower profile and bank portfolio for the second quarter, the poll noted.

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