KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can seek Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) assistance if they face difficulties with their loan applications, BNM governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Yunus said today.

She explained that despite claims that banks are being more stringent in assessing credit profiles, broad statistics have shown that disbursement of loans has gone to pre-pandemic level.

“Loans have been increasing but there are cases of rejection that may not be seen to be justified.

“So, do come forward, so that we can then assess each matter accordingly,” she said after announcing Malaysia’s third quarter (Q3) 2021 gross domestic product performance here on Friday. 

She noted that the decision to approve any loan application would depend on the bank’s assessment of the borrower’s ability to pay.

The governor was responding to a question on SMEs finding it more difficult to apply for new loans especially those which had taken moratoriums and that the banks are more stringent in assessing their credit profile.

Nor Shamsiah pointed out that the banks’ entire business revolves around offering financing, both to individuals and businesses, and due to prudent practices during the good times they are still able to support financing needs of viable businesses and individuals as the country go through this pandemic.

She noted that loan disbursement to both retail and SMEs grew by about 13.1 per cent in the first nine months of this year — very much similar to the pre-pandemic level.

She urged SMEs to explore options available via the central bank’s online financing referral platform, iamSME, which would help them match financing needs with suitable offerings not just from the banks but also other lenders.

Borrowers might also tap on financial advisory services offered by the Khidmat Nasihat Pembiayaan or MyKNP platform to help in their loan application, she said.

To date, nearly 6,000 SMEs have been assisted across these platforms, she added.

As for BNM’s initiative, Nor Shamsiah said the central bank has introduced many lending facilities to SMEs to help them go through the pandemic and more importantly to invest for the future. 

The central bank has also announced additional allocations worth RM4.5 billion for its existing and two new funds dedicated to SMEs.

Earlier, when announcing the Q3 2021 performance, Nor Shamsiah said Malaysia’s net financing to the private sector expanded by 3.9 per cent, reflecting lower growth in both outstanding loans and outstanding corporate bonds. 

She said outstanding financing to SMEs expanded by 3.2 per cent as at end-September 2021 as higher growth in repayments outpaced that of disbursement during the quarter, following the transition to a more targeted repayment assistance.

For the businesses segment, she said loan applications and disbursements to businesses improved in September given the relaxation of movement restrictions. 

The outstanding business loans grew by 2.4 per cent, supported by higher working capital loan growth, she said.

“This expansion was also mainly driven by the wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels, and manufacturing sectors, in line with the resumption of business activity amid the reopening of the economy,” she said.

As for households, she said the outstanding loan growth moderated to 3.2 per cent amid containment measures and some base effects from the earlier rebound in loan growth in the third quarter last year. 

“Nonetheless, our credit flow to households trended upwards following the gradual relaxation of movement restrictions. This was reflected in a steady rise in loan disbursements amid higher loan applications in August and September,” she added. 


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