ArmInfo. In Armenia, there is a significant increase in lending to SMEs in comparison with other countries in the region. In an interview with ArmInfo, such an opinion was expressed by the founder, CEO of the SME Banking Club Andrei Gidulyan on the margins of a seminar initiated in Armenia on the initiative of Converse Bank.
"In Armenia, the level of financing for small and medium businesses is quite high. In particular, in comparison with Ukraine, where the bank's coverage of SME segment clients is about 10%, in Russia it is 20-25%, and in Armenia this figure reaches 60%" he remarked.
According to A. Gidulyan, the corporate sector is less widely represented in Armenia, as banks focus mainly on SMEs. "In Armenia, all 17 banks provide loans to small and medium businesses, whereas in Ukraine, out of 80 banks, only 20 lend to SME," - he said.
However, in terms of financing and servicing SMEs, in his opinion, Armenian banks should focus on the development of digital banking and electronic channels.
"Now we see that the business need to use mobile technologies has already been formed. Clients are ready to use messengers, chat bots, make payments, use mobile applications of banks. We are now trying to stir up banks and give a small impetus, showing the best practices so that they too to launch similar solutions that are already used in other countries, "he said, stressing that about 90% of the clients of the Baltic countries are already using online banking.
It should be noted that the SME Banking Club seminar is held in Armenia in order to provide participants with comprehensive information on trends SME development, provides for the exchange of information and experience on the conditions of lending to SMEs of global, regional, local banks and financial companies. Since 2010, SME Banking Club constantly organizes regional and international banking events in Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Egypt.
Recall that, according to EBRD, the share of Armenian SMEs in the structure of GDP in 2017 was 34.4%, with a turnover of 1,920.3 billion drams, which is more than a year ago by 14.2%. In the structure of active taxpayers, the share of SMEs is 77% or 82,209 companies. At the same time, in the general list of taxpayers, the share of active reached 59.2% or 106,596 companies, which, in numerical terms, is 5,593 more than a year ago.
According to the latest data of the National Center for SME Development (SME DNC) for several years, the share of SMEs in the structure of Armenia's GDP remains unchanged, at about 28%. As of the beginning of July of this year, according to the criteria of the National Center, out of 75 thousand 60% of SME business entities operating in Armenia are private entrepreneurs and only 40% are organizations.