- Agri biz loan rates reduced by 3.5% in 2020 to-date
- SME loan rates cut by 4% this year
- Gold loan rates reduced by 5% since January 2020
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced a further lending rate cut, slashing rates by up to 2 percent on all categories of loans in a continuing effort to bolster businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing affordable access to desperately-needed funds.
The bank took steps to reduce lending rates in February 2020,
before the full onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and also responded swiftly during the lockdown period by reducing lending rates on two more occasions. Accordingly its rates for Agri Business Loans, SME Loans and Gold Loans have been reduced in 2020 by 3.5 percent, 4 percent and 5 percent respectively.
Sri Lanka’s benchmark private sector bank, which has also launched two separate bank-funded support loan schemes since May 2020 to support COVID-19 affected borrowers, said the rate cut, effective 24 June 2020, covers all new home loans, leasing, personal loans, pawning, Diribala development loans for SMEs, green and pensioners’ loans as well as loans provided under the special bank-funded agri business and COVID-19 relief loan schemes.
Additionally, loans provided under the bank’s ‘Dirishakthi COVID-19 support loan scheme designed to meet the working capital requirements and revive operations of micro businesses whose annual turnover is below Rs. 15 million, will be provided at an interest rate of 9 percent per annum, the bank said.
“The depths to which some business sectors have been affected continues to be revealed as we step up our efforts to provide a lifeline and sustain companies and the economy until business volumes and cash flows improve,” Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan said.
“As a systemically important bank, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon is doing everything within its capacity to support the post-COVID-19 revival, and we will continue to look for ways in which we can contribute even more in the challenging months ahead.”
Detailing the latest rate cuts, the bank announced that the rates on agri business loans which were cut by 2 percent in May to 12 percent and 13 percent for five and seven year loans respectively, have now been cut by a further 1.5 percent to 10.5 percent and 11.5 percent.
Meanwhile the rate on ‘Diribala’ loans designed for SMEs and micro enterprises in the industrial and services sectors, reduced by 2 percent in May, have been slashed by a further 2 percent for both five and seven year tenors to 9.5 percent and 10.5 percent respectively, the bank said.
Besides the launch of the ‘Dirishakthi COVID-19 support loan’ scheme for micro entrepreneurs, Commercial Bank recently made a separate commitment of approximately Rs. 10 billion to provide loans to SMEs affected by COVID-19, after it obtained a loan of US$ 50 million from the IFC. These bank-funded loans are also provided to those who missed out on the benefits of the CBSL supported ‘Saubhagya COVID-19 Renaissance Facility.’
The interest rates on Home Loans have been reduced by up to 1.5 percent to 9.75 percent for 10-year loans, 10.5 percent for loans of over 10 years, and 9 percent for ‘Privilege’ home loans.
Leasing, biz loan and personal loan customers benefit from reductions of up to 1.5 percent on their respective rates of interest.
Pensioners’ Loans are benefitted by a rate cut of 1.5 percent on loans of up to 84 months, and the rates are subject to further change at the discretion of the management, the bank said.
Meanwhile, the rates applicable to green loans and Leases that support conversion to renewable energy and investment in other eco-friendly practices have also been slashed by a further 1 percent to 10 percent for three-year loans and 11.5 percent for seven year loans.
The bank has also taken the initiative to further reduce the pawning interest rate, reduced to 11 percent p.a. in May, by a further 1 percent to 10 percent effective 24th June 2020.
One of the largest lenders to the SME sector, Commercial Bank of Ceylon has been offering financial support services to businesses in order to soften the blow of the economic effects that COVID-19
In April, the bank announced a series of concessions for borrowers whose loans had already been classified as non-performing based on a Central Bank of Sri Lanka relief package for COVID-19 affected borrowing customers. It also offered several concessions for its credit card holders including a special card repayment plan for outstanding balances.
In May, the bank announced a reduction of lending rates across the board for new loans, leases, pawning and overdraft facilities.