Banks announce help for virus-hit businesses

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Banks announce help for virus-hit businesses

As the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus continues in Korea, local banks have upped their financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are expected to suffer from the economic fallout. The tourism, hotel and restaurant businesses are expecting a severe blow.

Shinhan Financial Group extended its support throughout all 16 affiliates including non-financial ones only three days after its flagship Shinhan Bank released a support plan.

Shinhan Bank said it will provide a total of 100 billion won ($83 million) in loans to affected SMEs with a 500 million won limit per enterprise. It will also extend the maturity date on loans and discount interest rates by a maximum of 1 percentage point. It said it is looking for ways to help Korean companies working in China through its overseas operations.

Shinhan Card will offer interest-free installment payments for two to three months to some 2.3 million small businesses that earn less than 500 billion won per year.

“Small business owners are especially vulnerable to shrinkage in private consumption,” the company said.

Jeju Bank, a subsidiary of Shinhan Financial Group, has formed a new loan program for SMEs and small business owners with a limit of 300 million won per business.

KB Kookmin Bank will offer loans of up to 500 million won per business if they suffer damages less than the size of the loans. It will also provide interest rate discounts of as much as 1 percentage point.

In cooperation with regional credit guarantee institutions like the Seoul Credit Guarantee Foundation, KB Kookmin Bank has announced 460 billion won worth of loans to companies that need them in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Woori Bank will offer 100 billion won worth of loans to small business owners and SMEs, with 50 billion being new loans and the remaining 50 billion won being loan extensions. It will also offer interest rate deductions of up to 1.3 percentage points.

“Woori Bank is willing to actively support SMEs and small business owners who are at financial risk in order to pre-emptively prevent an economic slump in relation to the new coronavirus,” said a Woori Bank spokesman.

“We are also willing to expand the support size if more losses are to come.”

KEB Hana Bank said it will provide loans of up to 500 million won per business totaling 300 billion won. The bank said it will extend maturity dates for loans by a maximum of one year without principle payments.

NH Nonghyup Bank will offer financial support for affected companies until June 30. For individual entrepreneurs, it will provide loans up to 100 million won and for business clients loans up to 500 million won with interest rate discounts of up to 1 percentage point.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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