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New bank loans to small and mid-sized firms top 2012 target

TAIPEI--Banks registered in Taiwan have extended more new loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the first 11 months of 2012 than were targeted by the government for the year as a whole, Taiwan's financial regulator said Saturday.

According to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), banks in Taiwan loaned NT$314.8 billion (US$10.82 billion) to SMEs from January to November, 43 percent higher than the government's full-year goal of NT$220 billion.

The figure indicates that Taiwan has met its target for supporting SME expansion this year, the FSC said.

According to the Small and Medium Enterprises Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), SMEs in the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors are those with paid-in capital of less than NT$80 million.

SMEs outside those three sectors are defined as incorporated entities that generate below NT$100 million in sales a year.

The MOEA said Taiwan has 1.28 million SMEs, representing about 97.63 percent of the country's businesses. Roughly 56 percent of them are owned by individual proprietors.

The FSC said the loans extended to local SMEs from January to November accounted for 49.62 percent of all new loans issued to the public and private sectors during that period, up 2.81 percentage points from the end of 2011.

Loans to SMEs also accounted for 53.37 percent of total lending in Taiwan to the private sector, up 2.01 percentage points from the end of last year.

As of the end of November, the average non-performing loan ratio on loans to SMEs stood at 0.54 percent, down 0.05 percentage points from the end of 2011, the FSC said.

The commission said it will continue to encourage local banks to provide loans to SMEs but also urge them to more tightly control risk when lending to the sector.

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