(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Two more banks on Monday joined the loan guarantee programme for financing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
With The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF) and Ahli Bank signing agreements yesterday to facilitate lending to SMEs, the number of financial institutions that have joined the programme is currently four besides Arab Bank and Cairo Amman Bank.
According to Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) Chief Executive Officer Yarub Qudah, more local banks are expected to take part in the loan guarantee programme, which covers around 75 per cent of the credit to help SMEs in governorates obtain easier lending.
The 250 million programme is supported by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to boost economic development in the Kingdom.
At the signing ceremony, Qudah indicated that the corporation will launch a promotion campaign about the programme in April to encourage entrepreneurs to apply and benefit from available credit facilities.
Qudah noted that SMEs account for over 55 per cent of Jordanian exports, contribute around 50 per cent to gross domestic product and provide nearly 70 per cent of created job opportunities.
Attending the ceremony were directors of the banks and officials from OPIC and the USAID.
Urging banks in Jordan to participate in the project, OPIC Vice President Robert Drumheller said the corporation and JEDCO as well as the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation will work as a team to achieve the objectives of the programme, which aims at supporting economic growth and creating employment opportunities across the Kingdom.
HBTF General Manager Omar Malhas said SMEs in Jordan used to encounter difficulties to obtain financing, adding the agreement represents an opportunity to create a more productive and competitive business environment in the country.