Eleven clusters are operating in Costa Rica, in sectors ranging from digital animation to flowers, food or agricultural products, seeking better operating and financial leverage.
Achieving greater access to credit, winning new customers and suppliers, discussing industry issues and possible solutions, more formalized operation or devising new strategies are part of the benefits of belonging to a cluster, a policy that is actively supported by the Costa Rica Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER).
The scare liquidity of colones explains the lower growth of loans in this currency, while credit growth in dollars continues to lose strength.
Added to the diminished liquidity in colones putting downward pressure on credit growth in that currency, is uncertainty at enterprise-level over recent changes in the exchange rate and lower credit demand for real estate projects, power generation and tourism, as explained by bankers to Nacion.com.
While governments spend fortunes on consultants to promote SMEs, the imbalance between their expenses and their income is the main threat to employers.
An article in Elfinancierocr.com reports that Danilo Montero, executive director of the Costa Rican Association for Development Organizations (Acorde) noted that "... The main risk to the national economy in 2014 threatening micro, small and medium enterprises is the fiscal deficit. "
Businessmen are decrying a lack of technical support from the State and difficulty in accessing bank financing.
Since 2012 nearly 450 workshops making handmade furniture in San Juan Sacatepequez have closed. A study by the Association for the Development of Communications reveals that a lack of funding, investment in machinery and technical support, are negatively affecting this sector.
The slow pace at which the Agricultural Development Bank operates forces producers to get finance from private institutions, paying higher rates.
Although the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to cut the time it takes for a loan approval, from one and a half years to two months, it has not kept its promise. In 2013, the approval of agricultural loans declined by 22% compared to the previous year.
Between 2006 and 2013 the number of agencies in the network of cooperatives in the country doubled.
Salvadoran Credit Unions have experienced a significant increase in the last year in order to expand financial services in most areas of the country.
The Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives of El Salvador (Fedecaces) announced that "growth is supported by an increase of over 20% in the portfolio of loans and deposits, after the close of 2013."
Tighter analysis of customers and better control of risk in lending are part of the changes that are being prepared by the financial regulator.
In 2013 the General Superintendence of Financial Entities (Sugef) began a process of regulatory changes for banks to continue during 2014. Tighter analysis of customers and better control of risk when granting loans are some of the changes being contemplated.
Salvadoran coffee growers are decrying the fact that in order to qualify for a loan they must meet up to 17 requirements with financial institutions.
Among other things, the banks are asking coffee producers for 'the balance sheet and income statement at the end of last year, with ruling and notes, a trial balance which is not less than three months older than the date of application for the loan. They must also submit a projected cash flow, financial statements of related customers and records of the volume of delivery of coffee processors in the past four harvests."
Between January and November 2013, Panamanian banks gave out 14% more loans than in the same period of 2012.
Statistics from the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP), reveal that during the first 11 months of 2013, the National Banking System (SBN by its initials in Spanish) gave out 14% more loans than in the same period of 2012, with its balance being $24.8154 billion.
The portfolio of loans granted through credit cards grew by 18% between November 2012 and November 2013.
Up until November 2013, the balance of active cards reached a total of $1.207 billion, while in the same period of 2012 it was $1.021 billion, representing an increase of 18% , according to statistics from the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP).
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