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Coimbatore, Oct. 20

THE SME Rating Agency of India Ltd (SMERA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with State Bank of India for rating the SME clients of the bank.

The organisation expects other commercial banks to follow the example of SIDBI in considering softer interest rates for SMEs credit-rated by SMERA.

Mr Rajesh Dubey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SMERA, Mumbai, told newspersons that his organisation had made an inaugural offer of rating fees of Rs 7,500 valid up to the end of this month to the SMEs. Launched on September 5, the agency has so far received 180 applications for rating and the processing has begun.

He said SMERA had approached the Government of India for release of subsidy to meet the rating expenses.

Mr Dubey said SMERA has signed an MoU with SBI on October 13, under which SBI would encourage its SME clients to be rated by SMERA. It has also broached the subject with other banks and institutions, including SIDBI. SIDBI is considering a proposal to offer concession in interest rate to SMEs that have been rated by SMERA, and quite a few schemes of the bank that have retail focus would insist on the applicants being rated by SMERA.

Explaining the advantages of rating by his organisation, Mr Dubey said the banks would process quickly applications for financial assistance by SMEs that have opted for rating, and SIDBI has initiated some steps in this regard. The companies that have been rated could also expect concession in interest rates and lesser collaterals.

Mr Dubey said the financial performance, operating efficiency and payment history would be some of the issues that would be considered for rating.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 21, 2005)
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