DTI to reopen COVID-19 lending facility for small businesses

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will resume accepting applications for the lending program for micro and small enterprises struggling with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on Aug.17.

In a statement, DTI said Small Business (SB) Corp. would reopen the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program for online loan applications.

Applications received earlier are in the final stage of processing.

SB Corp. had to temporarily stop accepting applications for CARES as loan requests reached over P3.5 billion, higher than the P1 billion earmarked for the facility.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency has secured P1 billion worth of additional funds from the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines for the program.

He also said funds for SB Corp.’s regular lending program for micro and small enterprises would also be used for the CARES program.

To distinguish the second run of the program or CARES 2 from its initial implementation, applicants will be required to apply through SB Corp.’s online borrower registration system.

To be able to borrow from the CARES program, micro and small enterprises should be operating for at least a year before March 16 of this year.

Under the CARES program, micro enterprises with assets of P3 million and lower can borrow from P10,000 to P200,000, while small enterprises with assets not exceeding P15 million can avail of loans amounting up to P500,000.

Loans under the CARES program are at zero interest rate, but a six percent service fee would have to be paid for 18-month term loans, and eight percent for 30-month term loans.

For ease in loan release and to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, applicants requesting loans worth more than P30,000 are required to have a bank account under Landbank or any PESONet or InstaPay participating banks.

For loan applications P30,000 and below, electronic money accounts such as GCash and PayMaya may be used as substitute to the bank account requirement.

Loan applicants need to provide their bank or electronic money account details to proceed with their online application.

Changes in the bank or electronic money account details will not be allowed during the loan release phase.

As part of the requirements, applicants will have to submit photos of the business establishment’s operations and fixed assets including business signage, and a one to three-minute video explaining the products and services, buyers and suppliers, level of sales and number of employees.

Applicants with outstanding negative credit track record with any financial institution prior to the pandemic would need an approved payment arrangement with the bank.

“The SB Corp. is committed to deliver the much-needed assistance of affected micro and small enterprises while making sure that the barest minimum standards and the lending guidelines are observed and complied with,” DTI said.



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