Haredim at Bank Hapoalim 370.
(photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Bank Hapoalim announced new measures to assist small businesses Sunday,
promising to double the availability of credit to NIS 2 billion, reduce service
fees and provide free support.
The amount of credit available in the
bank’s “Hapoalim Growth” fund, launched earlier this year, will increase
three-fold to NIS 300 million. Subject to government approval, the bank
will also double to NIS 1.4b. its contribution to a special state-guaranteed
fund for small businesses.
Small businesses will see their service fees
halved from NIS 6.5 to NIS 3.25 in the coming year, first-year businesses will
be exempt from all basic fees, and free business support will be provided by an
external consultation firm.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the
economy,” Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan said. “In a time of economic slowdown,
Bank Hapoalim continues to lead with measures that aid these businesses to deal
with the many challenges before them.
“As we promised at the beginning of
this year, small- and medium-sized business will continue to stand at the center
of our attention, and the bank expects to launch further financial and advisory
tools to help them achieve growth and prosperity. Small businesses help provide
jobs, including in the periphery, and this fact is particularly important given
the recent statistics that showed increased unemployment.”
launched its “Year of Small Business” three months ago, establishing the above
mentioned funds and services, plus another fund in conjunction with the
Manufacturers Association. It said Sunday that it made the decision to increase
credit because of high demand.
In the past three months, it said,
Hapoalim Growth has granted NIS 90m. in credit to around 450 small businesses.
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