It's no secret that the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive measures hit small and medium-sized businesses in Cyprus. In turn, this affected the banks and the number of loans issued by Cyprus banks. After a 25.4% decrease in business loans was recorded in Cyprus in July 2020, falling continued at the end of the year.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the number of issued business loans in Cyprus has decreased again.
So, as of December 31, 2020, a total of 339 loans were issued to entrepreneurs. In monetary terms, the amount of loans was 87 million euros, and the average interest rate was 2.96%.
It should be noted that even the state support program did not particularly affect the current situation. In contrast to households, enterprises showed little interest in participating in the interest rate subsidy plan.
As you may know, during the same period 2237 housing loans were issued in Cyprus. Their amount was 301 million euros, and the average interest rate was 1.67%.
By the way, the program to subsidize interest rates on business loans for enterprises and self-employed people affected by the pandemic was launched in 2020.
It covered new business loans that were issued between March 1 and December 31, 2020. The scheme assumed the reduction of interest rates on loans for the next four years. At the same time, for the first two years, interest rates for the affected enterprises and their employees were reduced to 3.5%. And the next two years - by 2% of the terms of the original contract for medium-sized businesses and 1.5% for large businesses.
As for the loan amount, for which the interest rate was subsidized, it should not have exceeded 800 thousand euros. And for the self-employed and companies in the field of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, it can be in the range from 100 thousand euros to 120 thousand euros, depending on the type of activity of the company.
Most likely that the lending restoration to the "pre-coronavirus" level can be expected not earlier than in spring or summer 2021.
Since, as the restrictions are lifted, the pressure on the economy decreases, employers and residents will adapt to the new conditions, and only then there will be more opportunities to assess the impact of the pandemic on the employment and income of potential borrowers.