ECONOMY

Single platform for SME loans

Single platform for SME loans

The Hellenic Development Bank (HDB) is about to create an online platform to act as a gateway where companies can apply for funding from credit institutions, making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to submit applications for loans.

The “Know Your Customer” service will allow SMEs to obtain access to simple procedures across all commercial banks that will then be able to make offers to companies regarding the size and cost of funding they can supply. This process, besides rendering companies’ access to credit easier, will increase competition among banks for finding credible customers and for expanding their credit base.

The aim of the HDB is to expand the range of solvent enterprises and facilitate the access of SMEs to financing, offering a gate of entry instead of having companies visit each bank separately and submit multiple demands for funding, while having to gather the same documents for many recipients.

HDB Chairwoman and Chief Executive Athina Hatzipetrou explains to Kathimerini that “the new, single Know Your Customer platform is an innovative and easy solution that will operate as a link between enterprises and banks. This is a modern digital system for the incorporation of clients into our credit system, aimed at more than doubling the number of bankable companies immediately.”

The expansion of the funding base in conditions of increased liquidity constitutes the biggest problem for the economy as well as for the banks, which defend the view that access to financing is restricted to just 40,000 enterprises, while creditworthy enterprises number up to more than 100,000, out of a total of 850,000 active businesses. Many of them do not even try to secure credit, either because of its increased cost or because they have taken their exclusion for granted since they do not have the necessary history that would confirm they are bankable.

The ability to submit an application via a single website, so that the request reaches all banks, will expand the scope of borrowing even for enterprises that normally also have to overcome geographical obstacles to secure credit.