• Credit Surety Fund loans top P2B – BSP

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    Loans approved under a public-private credit program for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) breached the P2-billion mark as of end-September, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.

    A total of P2.03 billion has been lent out in the past seven years under the Credit Surety Fund (CSF) initiative, the central bank said, benefiting 14,661 MSMEs nationwide.

    BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said the program has been successful, particularly in terms of repayment, with a past due ratio of about 0.9 percent as of end-September.

    “There is peer pressure among the participating cooperatives to be current,” Guinigundo said, adding that the program is considered “too precious to be abused.”

    The CSF program is a public-private partnership aimed at empowering the MSME sector. It pools contributions from participating cooperatives, local government units and other partner institutions.

    MSMEs that obtain loans through the CSF benefit from lower interest rates compared with those charged by private lenders or loan sharks.

    The CSF program also provides training to enhance the capabilities of participating cooperatives and MSMEs in the areas of financial and risk management, entrepreneurship and business management, and credit appraisal and monitoring.

    Since 2008, CSFs have been established in 44 local governments nationwide.

    The BSP is set to launch the 45th CSF next week in Cabanatuan City, to be joined by nine cooperatives. The city government of Cabanatuan pledged to contribute P1.5 million while the cooperatives committed P1.10 million.

    In a related development, the central bank announced that a bicameral panel had unified versions of CSF bills approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Once ratified by Congress and approved by Malacanang, “the law will make the CSF Program more sustainable and institutionalized in more provinces and cities nationwide,” the BSP said.

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