January 12: Nepal Rastra Bank has opened registration for refinancing facility to microfinance companies until January 25. Issuing a statement on Monday (January 11), the central bank has asked for submission of forms to avail refinance service to the microfinance companies. According to the central bank, bad debtors of microfinance companies since long time can also benefit from the scheme.
Prior to this, the refinance facility was provided only to commercial and development banks and finance companies. The central bank has fixed the maximum interest rate for microfinance companies at 15 percent and this is expected to provide some relief to the bad debtors.
Acting Executive Director of the Banks and Financial Institutions Regulation Department of NRB Kiran Pandit informed that the central bank has allocated a lump sum of Rs 21 billion to provide to the microfinance companies for refinancing.
According to Pandit, microfinance companies will have to reduce the interest rate of bad debtors to 5 percent irrespective of what rate they were charged before.
“We will give a lump sum to the microfinance companies. They will be able to invest the amount,” said Pandit.
He added that the central bank has not sought the details of the debtors because microfinance companies provide small scale loan. The central bank will finalize the reduction of interest rate after reviewing the applications submitted by the microfinance companies.
The latest data of NRB show that there are altogether 76 microfinance companies in Nepal after their merger and acquisition. Each microfinance company is entitled to receive Rs 270 million in average. However, microfinance companies can seek funds for refinancing up to 65 percent of their capital fund of last quarter. Therefore, the central bank will be providing between Rs 60 million to Rs 200 million to each microfinance company based on their quarterly report.