Loan success stories in time of crisis
Al-Amal Bank for micro-finance was formally launched in 2009. The bank funded more than 25 projects until 2011, and the bank's services have reached 125,000 people nationwide.
Al-Amal Bank in Taiz received about 150 clients in 2011 who requested micro-financing and loans for their businesses, according to Taiz branch manger Hilal Al-Sabaee.
Daood Al-Selwi is among the clients who have taken advantage of the loans. He has a welding shop in Taiz's Al-Hoban area, which he relies on to support his family of eight.
"I totally depend on the shop for living, and would ask Allah to preserve it for me," he told the Yemen Times.
Since the outbreak of anti-regime protests last year, the state was plunged into a severe economic crisis which led to the rising cost of oil derivatives, constant power outages and a suspension of activity at factories and workshops. Al-Selwi was among those hit hard by the crisis.
"My workshop was totally shut down for three months because of constant power outages. I was lent about YR 200,000 to provide my family with foodstuffs and to secure its essential needs," he said.
"I reconsidered reopening my workshop as it represents my sole source of income. The recovery of my workshop required a small generator to cope with the power outages," he said.
"I was informed by a friend of mine about Al-Amal Bank, so I went there and asked them to purchase an electricity generator for me. They agreed and bought it for me for YR 250,000 ($1,163).
They told me that I must pay it back in monthly installments over ten months. The bank took YR 50,000 over its real price, as the interest was at 25 percent.
"After receiving the generator, activities at the workshop began to revive. Over those ten months, I was able to pay off all my debt, including the cost of the generator,” he said.
“The workshop has earned good profits. Al-Amal Bank really did me a big favor in enabling me to reopen my workshop. Now the workshop operates well and I can successfully overcome the crisis,” said Al-Selwi.
Hamdi Saaed Othman, a member of the local council in the Al-Taizia area of Taiz, affirmed that the small loan projects contribute significantly to the creation of new job opportunities.
About 118 persons in Al-Huban alone took advantage of loan projects provided by Al-Amal and other banks.
According to Othman, some opened specialty shops, grocery shops, gas stations, construction material shops, while other stalled projects have been revived.