Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR
Second largest state-run Turkish bank Halkbank's decision to provide shopkeepers with 25,000 TL in cash loans as a part of the struggle against the economic blowback of coronavirus has resulted in massive lines in front of the bank's branches. As long as the application process for these loans continue, both customers and bank personnel are at great risk of contracting coronavirus, economic consultant Meriç Dıraz warns.
As long as the application process for these loans continue, both customers and bank personnel are at great risk of contracting coronavirus, said economic consultant Meriç Dıraz talking to Gazete Duvar.
“Unfortunately this situation renders social isolation impossible. The process of granting loans involves face to face contact between employees and customers. There have been long lines at banks, and they need to take precautions,” Dıraz said.
“This credit isn't being given out for free anyway. In order to get a loan there are a number of criteria, credit score, assurance, and having a co-signer. After these are all ensured, the person who wants the loan also must not have tax debt or social security debt. Even those applying today would have to wait 15 days for a response,” Dıraz added.
Many of the people braving the long lines when informed by bank employees that they were not eligible for the loans got frustrated and arguments erupted between customers and personnel.
Dıraz criticized the initiative as saying that it amounted to an effort to fix the country's economic crisis by getting consumers into debt.
“The problem that we are facing at the moment is one that no one can solve: America said let's put $1000 in everyone's pocket. France said that small businesses will not go under. Because these governments have money, they did these things. Since there is no money [in Turkey] they think they can get through this crisis by getting people into debt. Unfortunately, when they do this there will be people that are sacrificed to the virus. The [bank] personnel in contact with the customer is at great risk,” Dıraz said.