The SME Foundation is set to launch the SME Banking Award to recognise financial institutions' outstanding contribution to the country's small and medium enterprises.
“We will give awards to institutions that have made remarkable contribution in the SME sector, particularly in terms of access to finance,” Syed Md Ihsanul Karim, managing director of the foundation, said as he unveiled the state-run agency's plan.
Speaking at a brainstorming session on the award at The Daily Star Centre, he said the SME and Special Programmes Department of Bangladesh Bank will provide necessary support.
The foundation proposed three categories for the award—SME-friendly bank of the year, SME women-friendly bank of the year and bank providing non-financial services.
The criteria for the award are: volume on SME loans; rate of interest; percentage of increase in SME loans in the last three years; recovery rate of non-performing loans and efforts; loans disbursed to women and manufacturing sector.
“We will also consider green banking activities by banks and non-banks,” said Nazeem H Satter, board secretary of SME Foun-dation, adding that the base year for the award would be 2013.
Two-thirds of loans disbursed for small and medium enterprises in 2013 went to the trading sector, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
Banks and non-bank financial institutions lent Tk 85,323 crore to the SME sector in 2013, up 22 percent from the previous year, data shows.
Of the total loans disbursed, nearly Tk 56,704 crore or 66.45 percent was given to the trading sector last year.
The manufacturing sector received only Tk 24,016 crore and the services sector got less than Tk 4,603 crore.
Urban entrepreneurs got nearly 77 percent of the SME loans disbursed in 2013 against just 23 percent in rural areas, according to the central bank.
Masum Patwary, general manager of the SME and Special Programmes Department, was present at the meeting.