Credit Guarantee From Government Needed For Startup Loans, Say SBI Economists
Employees work at a startup office in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Sara Hylton/Bloomberg)

Credit Guarantee From Government Needed For Startup Loans, Say SBI Economists

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Startups lack collateral against which loans can be availed, and a credit guarantee scheme is essential to ensure that benefits of the Reserve Bank of India's new priority sector lending reach the new-age enterprises, economists at State Bank of India said on Friday.

Other measures of the newly drafted guidelines of RBI, like moves to address regional disparities in credit and loans to farmers for installing solar plants, were welcomed by the economists.

Earlier in the day, the RBI came out with revised guidelines for priority sector lending which included lending of up to Rs 50 crore to startups to be included in the priority sector portfolios.

Banks are mandated to lend over 40% of their advances to priority sectors and penalised with parking the shortfall in low interest-earning instruments.

The SBI economist explained that startups do not have collateral and performance evaluation mechanism matrix. Hence, it will be interesting to see how the lenders can diversify their risk appetite while lending to startups which do not meet traditional security/collateral/cash flow requirements.

"We believe a suitably structured guarantee scheme from the government could be helpful in the current scenario to give an impetus to lend to startups," they said in a note.

Analysts at ratings agency Crisil said the revision will incentivise credit flow to specific segments like clean energy, weaker sections, health infrastructure and credit deficient geographies.

Also read: RBI Revises Priority Sector Lending Rules To Widen Credit Spread

The note from SBI economists said the last revision in norms had significantly improved achievement of PSL targets by banks and in FY20, all the bank-groups have been able to achieve the overall target of 40% lending, including the foreign lenders.

Other welcome changes include loans to farmers for installation of solar power plants for solarisation of grid-connected agriculture pumps and loans for setting up compressed biogas plants as fresh categories eligible for finance under PSL, it said.

The move to take care of regional disparities was hailed by them as "an ideal example of policy federalism" adopted by RBI in promoting financial and social inclusion in line with the central government's agenda.

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