Thursday,25 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1350, (22 June - 5 July 2017)
Thursday,25 April, 2019
Issue 1350, (22 June - 5 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

The return of Talaat Harb

Banque Misr has started a campaign to encourage entrepreneurship among young people through business-development loans, reports Safeya Mounir

The return of Talaat Harb
The return of Talaat Harb

An advertising campaign by Banque Misr entitled “Talaat Harb is coming back” is promoting an initiative to fund small- and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt by encouraging particularly young people to borrow money to start their own businesses.

It aims to make work in small businesses more alluring while criticising alternatives including emigration.

Talaat Harb, the Egyptian financier who founded Banque Misr at the beginning of the last century, saw it as a way of providing the funds needed for national economic development. The bank’s present campaign is designed to build on that legacy by investing more funds in projects run by young people.

One Banque Misr official who preferred to remain anonymous said that many young people came to the bank seeking business loans, including both men and women. In response, the bank had developed a variety of project ideas in the services and production sectors that it could consider financing, he said, including by studying feasibility studies and the necessary paper work.

“The Talaat Harb campaign is one of the bank’s most successful,” said Akef Maghrabi, deputy chair of Banque Misr. “The proof lies in the large number of clients visiting the bank seeking business-development loans.”

The bank received multiple queries every day regarding loans for small and medium-sized enterprise development, Maghrabi said, with applications up by a factor of 10 since before the launch of the campaign.

Some LE3.3 billion had been earmarked for funding the bank’s small projects portfolio, he said. Applications for funding vary between industrial and services projects, and in making loans the bank is able to approve purchases of equipment or machinery or raw materials from suppliers.

In January last year, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) launched an initiative allocating LE200 billion to support small- and medium-sized business projects in Egypt in the form of loans available at an interest rate of five per cent.

For Banque Misr, a small project is one having a potential turnover of between LE1 and LE50 million, in which case business-development loans could be available at an interest rate of five per cent. Interest on loans between LE50 and LE200 million is 12 per cent, and on loans to buy machinery and equipment for industrial and agricultural projects it is seven per cent.

Fatma Al-Geweili, head of communications at Banque Misr, said the campaign was an attempt to encourage young people to set up businesses as an alternative to taking government jobs or working abroad.

Anyone could obtain details of the loans on offer from their nearest branch of Banque Misr, Al-Geweili said, and the owners of existing projects could also be eligible for loans provided that collateral is available in the form of property, rental or ownership contracts, temporary or final licences, or letters stating licensing procedures are underway or that the project does not require a licence.

Other documents may also be required in order to finalise the loans, she said.

Egypt’s banks are currently competing in granting loans for these types of projects, with the sector’s small-business loans portfolio reaching LE29.5 billion. The National Bank of Egypt’s small- and medium-sized projects portfolio accounts for 12 per cent of the bank’s overall portfolio, which is the largest lender in public-sector banking.

Earlier statements by Mounir Al-Zahed, chairman of Banque du Caire, also revealed that the bank’s small, medium-sized and micro-loans amounted to around LE2.6 billion at the end of October 2016.

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