Eurasia Foundation Expands Loan PRogram

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Eurasia Foundation is currently involved in the implementation of a loan program under which it has already issued $1.9 million in credit to 78 enterprises since 1995. The loan program is aimed at developing small and medium-sized private enterprises in Armenia.

The dollar amount of the loans fluctuates between $5,000 and $50,000. Loans are being issued for a period of two years at an annual interest rate of 21 percent. According to program manager Taylor–at present–these are the lowest interest rates in Armenia–hence–the loan repayment rate is pretty high. Out of the 78 loans–21 have been closed. Eurasia loans are allocated through the following four banks: Anelik–Lend–Armimpexbank and Shirakinvest.

Eurasia issues loans to all spheres except trade as the program aims at developing enterprises involved in small production. According to Taylor–the volume of loans is likely to increase in 1998 as the bank Shirakinvest recently got involved in the loan program. This will allow the foundation to assist in setting up new enterprises in the earthquake area this year. The largest loan amount will reach $100,000 in 1998.

According to Taylor–the future of Eurasia’s loan program depends on further activities of Kirk Kerkorian’s $100 million Fund which will also be directed for developing Armenian enterprises through loans.

According to the program manager’s assistant–Zakar Boyajan–the allocation of loans has been simplified this year–because starting this year loans will be issued not only on the basis of business plans–but also on negotiations on the amount of the loan. Boyajian said that new deals had been signed with the four abovementioned banks. Under the new order–banks share 50 percent of the risk of the allocated loans.

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