Standard Chartered has partnered with leading global apparel buyers and suppliers and disbursed US dollar denominated preshipment loans under a new financing program, which aims to support more than 20,000 apparel workers in Bangladesh.
The unique Covid-19 response funding program was designed in consultation with renowned buyers, enabling better liquidity support to customers in a challenging environment, the bank said in a statement today.
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Bank customers can benefit from one-year cash assistance for the payment of salaries, utilities and other operational expenses under this program, with a 3-month moratorium period.
More than 20,000 workers received their monthly wages and festival bonuses on time thanks to these loans.
The financing program has allowed easy access to funds for salaries and other operating expenses and it provides low-cost financing with a natural hedge against currency volatility, the bank said.
Fakir Kamruzzaman Nahid, Managing Director of Fakir Fashions Ltd, recipient of the funding, said: “The impact of the pandemic on life, livelihoods and the economy in general cannot be overstated.”
“At a time like this, the US dollar-based pre-shipment loans introduced by Standard Chartered offered us a chance to reduce our financial expenses as well as solidify our long-standing relationship with our buyer,” a- he added.
“Standard Chartered has used the strength of its network to work with our major buyers and has provided us with this low cost USD financing with the flexible option to repay over one year with a moratorium. During this pandemic, the speed, efficiency and laudable efforts of the Standard Chartered team have proven that the bank understands the demands of our industry. “
Mr. Shahadat Hossain, president of Dekko Legacy Group, another beneficiary of the installation, said: “The Covid-19 is something that has taken us completely by surprise, especially in the first months of 2020. Our industry is faced with tight deadlines, massive workers and unpredictable buyers. “
“So when we received support for the government’s stimulus package, it was a great relief. The US dollar-based preshipment financing also helped us manage payments beyond the government-supported period. We were able to reduce our financial expenses as well as create additional support in the treasury. “
This is a very innovative initiative from Standard Chartered, Hossain said.
“Also, the way it’s structured, with the moratorium, gives us more flexibility. I would like to sincerely thank the Standard Chartered team for coming forward during this stressful time.”
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, said: “Standard Chartered is proud of the Here for Good promise, and there has never been a more important time to keep that promise. “
“I am extremely grateful for the timely support we have received from the Bangladesh Bank to provide these low interest USD denominated loans to our exporting clients. “