Apr 21, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s finance companies who lend to smaller sub-prime customers have grown their loan book 37.6 percent in 2010 to 156.2 billion rupees as the sector recovered from runs in earlier years, official data showed. Sri Lanka’s commercial banks which had loans of 1.5 billion to businesses and 627 billion to the state saw 27 percent growth in loans to private businesses. Loans to state enterprises rose 93 percent by year end.
The Central Bank said hire purchase and leasing brought 57 percent of the growth and pawning (gold backed loans) doubled during the year. But loans to real estate fell 10 percent.
Total assets of the sector rose to 233.6 billion rupees in 2010 from 185.4 billion a year earlier.
The sector as a whole still lost 400 million rupees, which was lower than a 2.0 billion lost in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s sub-prime lenders which had heavy exposure to property faced runs in 2008 and 2009. A key business of finance companies is to give loans and hire purchase facilities for trucks, three wheelers and other vehicles used by smaller businesses.
“Registered Finance Companies (RFCs) gradually recovered in 2010 after experiencing liquidity problems since 2009,” the Central Bank said.