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    Preferential loans make it easier for IT // But this will not solve problems on the side of banks

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    The Ministry of Digital Development proposes to simplify the possibility of obtaining preferential loans for digital transformation projects. The office of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko notes the high demand for the support program and believes that the changes will make it available to a larger number of accredited IT companies. At the same time, difficulties in accessing soft loans arise due to the lack of collateral for organizations – this issue has not yet been resolved, while this is very important for medium and small IT companies.

    soften the requirements for IT companies to receive preferential loans for digital transformation projects based on Russian solutions. Let us clarify that the subsidized rate of such loans (up to 10 billion rubles) is only 1-5% per annum, and for accredited IT companies – no more than 3% per annum.

    In addition, it is planned for companies to lift the ban on placing their own funds on deposits at a rate higher than the preferential rate, remove the obligation to annually index wages and allow them to pay dividends at their own expense (soft loan funds cannot be used for this ). The draft government decree is posted on the portal regulation.gov.ru.

    “This will attract additional funding to the IT industry, and Russian developers will be able to provide the current activities and implement more new projects,” the ministry said in a statement. In turn, the office of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko told Kommersant that the concessional lending program shows high demand and amendments should make it more accessible to a larger number of accredited IT companies. As of August 1, the portfolio of such concessional loans was estimated at 52.2 billion rubles, 97 projects were supported, 23 banks participate in the program, indicate the Ministry of Digital Development. stated that the issuance of preferential loans is hindered by the lack of collateral in IT companies, and the issue of the possibility of pledging intangible assets, as well as the idea of ​​a guarantee fund for such loans, is only being worked out (see Kommersant on March 23 for more details). A solution has not yet been found.

    The press service of the Bank of Russia explained to Kommersant that intangible assets can be considered as collateral for a loan if they are liquid, but this requires an active market that will allow forming a reliable assessment of such assets. As for IT companies, for them, as a rule, the value of intangible assets closely correlates with financial performance, and successful organizations can get loans from banks even without collateral in the form of intellectual property, the press service of the Central Bank noted.

    The head of the Russoft Association, Valentin Makarov, believes that globally, the current initiative of the Ministry of Digital Development will not help domestic companies much. Medium and small IT companies, which are the majority in the Russian Federation, still do not have the material collateral required to obtain a loan, and intellectual rights to software products are still not considered by the Central Bank (and banks) as collateral. “Taking a loan secured by your own property is clearly not an option,” he says. Meanwhile, APKIT director Nikolay Komlev considers the initiative useful. In his opinion, the project is rather aimed at supporting implementations and user projects. Cancellation of wage indexation obligations is the right decision, in the IT sector, salaries are already quite high, he notes. Banks also evaluate the idea of ​​the Ministry of Digital Development differently: for example, the Moscow Credit Bank speaks of high demand for the product, while Sovcombank speaks of moderate demand.

    Russian companies demonstrate high demand for preferential lending under the decree Government No. 1598,” the press service of the Moscow Credit Bank, one of the participants in the program, told Kommersant. The bank explains the interest with an attractive preferential rate. Sovcombank talks somewhat cautiously about the program. “Given the specifics of the program and the significant amount of requirements for ongoing projects and IT companies themselves, we estimate demand as moderate,” Vladislav Monov, senior vice president, managing director for corporate lending at the bank, told Kommersant. According to him, since the launch of the program, credit limits have been opened in the amount of more than 500 million rubles. Mr. Monov notes that the share of failures in the financial situation of borrowers is insignificant. In most cases, companies themselves either refuse because of the fairly large volume of requirements imposed on them (filling out project forms for approval by the Ministry of Digital Development, the need for wage indexation, prohibitions on placing deposits and paying dividends, etc.), or do not meet the requirements established in

    It should be noted that preferential lending to companies for their digital transformation projects was introduced back in 2019 and is intended for businesses ready to implement domestic software products, services and platform solutions created on the basis of end-to-end digital technologies. On April 1, 2022, the head of the White House, Mikhail Mishustin, signed Decree No. 714-r, which, among other things, provided for the allocation of 3 billion rubles. for subsidies to banks to provide concessional lending in the framework of government decree No. 1598 of December 5, 2019. The rate on these loans should not exceed 3%. In 2022, these funds should provide preferential lending for at least 75 digital transformation projects.

    Venera Petrova

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