Banks offer SMEs help in wake of Covid-19

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Banks offer SMEs help in wake of Covid-19

Remodeling of a shop is in progress in Myeong-dong, a shopping district in central Seoul, on March 26. Many shops have closed down due to the pandemic that has lasted for over a year. [YONHAP]

Remodeling of a shop is in progress in Myeong-dong, a shopping district in central Seoul, on March 26. Many shops have closed down due to the pandemic that has lasted for over a year. [YONHAP]

Banks are offering help to small businesses in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic by sharing big data and promising assistance for online operations.
 
The Industrial Bank of Korea said Wednesday it will support live commerce services for small and midsized enterprises (SMEs).
 
Live commerce is like home shopping but on mobile phones. It offers real time communication between vendors and potential customers via messaging programs.
 
The bank is offering to cover costs for production of live commerce broadcasts and related commercials. The bank is partnering with live commerce platform operator Vogoplay.  
 
The bank had been accepting applications from SMEs that want to sell products via live commerce and selected 68 companies.
 
The first sales of a product from an SME on VOGO took place at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
 
"We planned the project as SMEs struggle to find sales channels due to prolonged effects of Covid-19," a spokesperson for the bank said. "By the end of the year, we plan to support roughly 100 companies."
 
Some other banks are offering SMEs data analysis.
 
Woori Bank inked a partnership with the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute Tuesday to cooperate in analyzing big data for marketing insights for small businesses.
 
The bank said it will upgrade an existing big data analysis service by the institute using its own financial data and offer marketing information related to shopping districts, weather and loyal customers. It's offering the service for free for a certain period to small businesses that are its clients.
 
The offer is for the first half of this year. How long it will be offered for free has not been decided.
 
Shinhan Bank partnered with Gyeonggi-do Market Revitalization Agency, a public organization established in 2019 to help small businesses in Gyeonggi, it said Wednesday.
 
According to the bank, it and the agency will jointly research how to maintain the viability of small shops and traditional markets within the province using big data analysis.
 
"We plan to actively participate in the agency's joint research project aimed at establishing a social safety net to help small businesses and the self-employed overcome the crisis," said Shinhan Bank CEO Jin Ok-dong in a statement.
 
BY KIM JEE-HEE   [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
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