HERE AND BEYOND
Ameriabank offers profitable loans to SME
Media Room

Interview with Mr. Vazrik Sekoyan, Retail Banking Director at Ameriabank


Mr. Sekoyan, following its new strategy Ameriabank has announced SME finance as one of the bank’s priorities. What will be the benefits for the clients?

The small and medium business representatives will receive top quality service like the bank’s existing clients. Though the bank projects smooth shift to universal banking, we still treat client service quality as our priority. Our interest in SME just implies that today the bank is open for various types of clientele, private entrepreneurs among them. As you know Ameriabank consistently enhances its business in the regions of Armenia. Today the bank has its branch offices in Kajaran, Dilijan, Vanadzor. For the regional entrepreneurs it means that they may bank with us and benefit from loan facilities offered by Ameriabank.
 

It’s no secret that for the banks small businesses are associated with higher risks due to absence of official statements and poor quality of the collateral. Has Ameriabank streamlined its technologies of dealing with this type of clients?
Risks are inherent in any banking sphere. What is more important is to assess them properly and adhere to stern risk management policy. Prior to banking with SME, we initiated a number of organizational actions such as development of risk management procedures and scoring systems that will help us minimize the risks. Besides, we have employed new professional personnel with a broad expertise in this market segment. Actually, the fact that the SME representatives lack official statements and accounting does not scare us. We always conduct financial analysis of the borrower’s performance, whether it’s a major corporate client or a private entrepreneur, so we can determine the client’s creditworthiness in any case. We are not concerned about the poor quality of the collateral, either, as our legislation minimizes all the risks. What is more important here is correct formalization of the security interest.

How does the bank demonstrate its flexible approach in the relationship with clients?
We have been practicing an individual approach to clients for 4 years already and value it very much. It is very important in cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises as well. Surely we can’t demonstrate a full-scale individual approach to SME. It will be limited by the offered range of services and eligibility criteria. Anyway, we’ll do our best to tailor the bank’s services to the needs of small and mid-sized business. We practice very flexible approach when drawing up payment schedules for seasonal businesses. We’ll show the same individual approach when defining lending terms for various sectors.
The loan rates will vary depending on the scale of client’s transactions with the bank. Ameriabank is willing to offer new products and services to the small and medium-sized businesses and upgrade the existing ones to be always ready to meet the market demand. It is a win-win relationship for the bank and the client. In particular, we have developed a new loan facility for SME with most affordable terms. It’s similar to a business loan offered to the borrower at a discount.


Could you tell us a little more about your new offer to the SME?
Its main advantage is that the borrower doesn’t pay interest during the first three months of the loan term. Further the interest is accrued to the decreasing outstanding principal.
The loan is issued for up to five years either in Armenian drams or US dollars. The procedure is very simple. The eligible borrowers are legal entities and private entrepreneurs. The maximum amount is 30 million Armenian drams. We may be more flexible, though, with the borrowers with interesting and promising projects. We haven’t set minimum loan amount so that this facility is accessible for micro businesses too. The loan applications will be reviewed in no more than a week. I’d like to highlight once more that all branches of Ameriabank encourage active cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises and offer all the services of Ameriabank’s head office. So the SMEs will gain an additional advantage.

Anahit Julhakyan (Деловой Экспресс)

Updated 13.06.2016, 10:12
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