Business Times

BoC rolls out a special loan scheme for businessmen in the North

After three decades of war, the Sri Lankan economy is starting to sprout with banks continuing to open new branches, offering low interest loans for entrepreneurs, businessmen as well as Small and Medium scale enterprises and traders to resurrect their businesses in the North.

The Bank of Ceylon (BoC) plans to roll out a special low-interest loan scheme to assist businessmen who were once thriving in the north. It has allocated Rs.300 million to be disbursed among leading businessmen in the North who need urgent financial assistance to re-start their businesses, although the region's revival may depend on how quickly the remaining thousands of internally displaced persons are resettled in their native villages and able to rejoin the economic mainstream, BoC General Manager B.A.C. Fernando told the Business Times. He said that a nominal interest of 9% per annum will be levied for these concessionary loans.

He said that traders and businessmen in the Jaffna peninsula were lamenting that state-owned and commercial banks are not providing any banking facilities to them, though almost all the major banks have opened up branch offices in the peninsula. The new loan scheme is to be launched shortly by the BoC to solve their grievances, he added. Loans up to Rs 5 million will be granted to businessmen in accordance with their needs, he said. The repayment period is 10 years.

Businessmen in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mulaitivu and Mannar will be benefited by this scheme.
Another loan scheme for self employment and housing will be introduced for the benefit of the poor families in the North and East, shortly. With a low annual interest rate of 4%, loans up to Rs.250, 000 will be granted through the District Secretariats by the BoC. The re-payment period is over 10 years.

The BoC will be opening 31 more branches each focusing on small and medium enterprises in the North and East of country soon. The openings will include more branches in each province to provide microfinance services, as well as nine ATMs in the North, seven ATMs in the East, and 11
mobile units.

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