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Bryn Battersby, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, Jason Harris, Mr. Gee Hee Hong, Mrs. Sandra V Lizarazo Ruiz, Mr. Paolo Mauro, and Amanda Sayegh
During the COVID-19 pandemic and global financial crisis, governments swiftly served as financiers of last resort through large financial support measures (FSMs) such as loan and guarantee programs and equity injections in firms. This Staff Discussion Note argues that such FSMs prevented bankruptcies and attenuated the recession by increasing firms’ liquidity, reducing risk premiums, and boosting confidence. But FSMs also carry large and long-lasting fiscal costs and risks. The note presents recommendations for managing the legacies of the COVID-19 programs and preparing for future crises. Ideally, FSMs should be assessed and included in budget plans, though a balance needs to be struck between speed and scrutiny.
Tao Sun
This note analyzes the economic impact of digital lending to micro and small sized enterprises (MSEs) in China during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A preliminary analysis of a large pool of MSEs served by a digital bank indicates that digital banks were able to remotely evaluate borrowers and sustain lending during the pandemic, thereby facilitating the business continuity, sales growth, and financial inclusiveness of MSEs. In the global context, a policy framework—leveraging the advantages of digital banks and empowering digital banks, while guarding against possible financial stability risks—would further support small businesses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.