LENDING & CREDIT | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

HSBC ups SME loan fund to $2.064 billion

HSBC increased its SME loan fund by US$516 million to US$2.064 billion, to accommodate applications of Hong Kong's loan schemes.

More than 90 percent of the approved loans are for applicants of the Hong Kong Government's SME Loan Guarantee Scheme and the Special SME Loan Guarantee Scheme.

To date, HSBC has approved more than US$1.54 billion in loans to 5,454 SMEs in Hong Kong since the original US$516 million fund was launched in December 2008.

"There has been a surge in loan applications since the Hong Kong government announced enhancements to its loan guarantee schemes in May, and our customers are telling us they have seen a pick-up in orders since the fourth quarter of 2008. As our recently published Small Business Confidence Monitor shows, SMEs are looking to the second half of the year with more optimism, which is translating into a pick-up in business activity," said John Coverdale, HSBC Global Co-head of Commercial Banking for Asia-Pacific.

The HSBC Small Business Confidence Monitor found that Hong Kong SMEs have made a significant positive shift in their economic outlook since the fourth quarter of 2008, driving a 33-point increase in their overall business confidence levels.

The Hong Kong fund is part of the HSBC US$5 billion global fund, which is also available to SMEs in Malaysia, the UK, France and Malta. The fund represents additional money above what HSBC would expect to lend in the current environment.

In June, HSBC announced a two-month interest refund on eligible SME loans approved
under the SGS and SpGS between 6 November 2008 and 30 September 2009.

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