Banque BEMO sets $100 million
loan program for reconstruction
Financing to rebuild homes,
offices, or repair equipment
Banque BEMO has allocated $100 million to provide fast-track loans to people hurt by the port explosion and who want to rebuild their house, office, or restore their equipment.
Cars and home appliances are among the items that maybe considered as ‘equipment’.
The loans will be provided with minimal collateral and administrative paperwork. The program, which targets both clients and non-clients, will begin immediately.
Fares Sawaya, Executive Director for Financial Institutions at the bank, said that they will charge an interest rate that will range between two and three percent.
The loan ceiling is set at $25,000 in order to reach a large number of borrowers, Sawaya said.
He said that this loan program is suitable for people who don’t want to wait for the indemnities that will be paid by the government agency High Relief Commission (HRC). Once they cash the money from the HRC, they can repay the loan.
The loan tenure will range from three to five years. It will be repaid in lira according to the exchange rate set by the Central Bank (BDL) which is currently at around LL1,515.
Sawaya said that this loan program mainly targets those who urgently need liquidity and that borrowers could also secure zero-interest loans according a new BDL circular. According to the circular, banks are required to grant zero-interest loans in dollars and without charging any fees to individuals and businesses affected by the explosion in the Port of Beirut in order to rebuild their homes and company premises.
All types of businesses can benefit from the loans including sole proprietorships, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and corporations. The proceeds must be used for basic restoration work. Real estate development projects cannot benefit from the facilities.
The loans can be repaid in lira at the exchange rate determined by BDL’s foreign exchange platform (currently at around LL3,900).
The limits set by banks on their customers’ credit do not apply on these loans.
BDL said it will provide zero-interest facilities in dollars to the banks equivalent to the loans they grant for renovation. These facilities will also be repaid over five years.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Aug 07, 2020