May 06 2014

Bank finance to Kafala-backed SMEs up 28%

By SHARIF M. TAHA Bank finance to Kafala-backed SMEs up 28%
The volume of finance provided by Saudi banks to Kafala-supported small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grew by 28 percent to SR 571.8m in the first quarter of 2014 compared to SR 448.3m in the same period last year, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kafala Program, meanwhile, issued 652 guarantees for SME projects in Q1 compared to 488 guarantees in the same period last year, an increase of 34 percent, the Agency quoted an statement released by Kafala.

The value of those guarantees stood at SR 311.6 million compared to SR256.7 million in Q1 2013, or an increase of 21 percent, the statement said.

The National Commercial Bank ( NCB ) ranked top supporter to the Kafala Program during the first quarter of the year at 36 percent of the total guarantees, followed by Riyad Bank (22 percent), Rajhi Bank (17 percent), Saudi Hollandi Bank and Samba Financial Group (5 percent for each), whereas the remaining 15 percent of finance went to other banks, according to the statement.

Kafala Program was created by the Ministry of Finance, represented by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), and Saudi banks.

The program aims to promote financing to the SME sector in the Kingdom.

Through the program, the banks offer finance to customers up to SR2 million whereas Kafala Program will issue guarantees to the bank, covering up to 80 percent of the required financing.

© Arab News 2014

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