Halyk Bank to provide women entrepreneurs with one billion tenge in loans

NUR-SULTAN – Halyk Bank plans to provide one billion tenge (US$2.6 billion) in loans to women entrepreneurs this year, continuing its 2018 commitment to empowering female businesspersons. The announcement was made by Halyk Bank board chairperson Umut Shayakhmetova during the Women in Business forum in Almaty, reported NewTimes.kz.

Halyk Bank board chairperson Umut Shayakhmetova. Photo credit: tengrinews.kz.

“Last year, under the memorandum with the Council of Businesswomen of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan, 236 female entrepreneurs received 1.8 billion tenge (US $4.73 million) in loans at 5 percent interest from our bank. This year, we are ready to provide one billion tenge (US$2.6 billion) more for the development of female entrepreneurship,” she told the participants.

The loan initiative was launched last year as part of the memorandum between Atameken, Halyk Bank and the ERG company on supporting female business projects. Shayakhmetova explained why they are provided for female entrepreneurs in particular.

“Customer solvency analysis shows that women are more responsible, careful and hard-working. Women show the lowest rates of loan delinquency and default,” he noted.

Halyk Bank small and medium business department head Sergei Bulkovski spoke on the same topic last year with apgazeta.kz.

“Our target is women – individual entrepreneurs who really do manage their own enterprises or plan to launch them and legal entities, given that at least 50 percent of authorised capital in LLPs or JSCs belongs to female founders. There are other requirements for potential applicants. Tax arrears and other overdue mandatory budget payments exclude applicants from consideration, as well as overdue arrears to second tier banks and other financial organisations as of the current month of the application date,” he said.

Halyk Bank representatives explained the application mechanism last year at the Regional Entrepreneurs Chamber. Loans can be up to 10 million tenge (US$26,000). A 5 percent interest rate, the lowest rate available in the country, applies to loans with up to a 24-month repayment period; 36-month loans have a 6-percent interest rate. The maximum repayment term applies to 7-percent, 84-month loans.

The programme is expected to help women entrepreneurs, as the inability to receive loans is the main limiting factor for new businesses.

“We remember that last year, the volatility of the national currency was high and devaluation through 2018 was 17 percent. It’s possible that it’s related to the ruble losing its value. However, we did not always understand why the tenge kept falling despite positive macroeconomic factors… We think that 2019 will be the year when the banking system will get better,” said Shayakhmetova.