GENEVA (Jun. 13)
The current boom in the economies of most western countries had a marked beneficial effect in 1960 on programs of 40 loan institutions supported by the Joint Distribution Committee, the JDC reconstruction department reported in an analysis issued here today.
Loans made by the 40 institutions, operating in 19 countries, reached an all-time high of $3,118,000, an increase of $240,000 over the total loaned in 1959. Because of the high cost of establishing businesses currently, the average amount per loan rose to $460 during 1960. The increase in the size of loans prevented the institutions from meeting all requests and the number of individuals receiving loans during 1960 declined by six percent-from 7,049 to 6,658.
The number of losses from failure to repay dropped in 1960 and in addition, substantial sums were collected from accounts which had been written off as losses in previous years, the report indicated. As a result, the average percentage of losses dropped from three-quarters of one percent in 1959 to one-third of one percent in 1960.
The report also disclosed that two new loan operations were established last year. One was formed in Santiago, Chile to help victims of the disastrous May 1960 earthquake with funds provided by the JDC, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Jewish Colonization Association and the local community. The other was set up in Melbourne, Australia to provide housing for newcomers with funds from the Central British Fund as well as from the JDC and the JCA.
The 40 institutions have been formed since the end of World War II by the JDC in cooperation in some cases with the Claims Conference and the Jewish Colonization Association and of the leaders of the various Jewish communities. The goal of the loan institutions is to help people to become self-supporting or to improve their economic status through the availability of credit at low interest rates.
Among the loans issued in 1960, 1,800 went to families of refugees, repatriates and newcomers to help them to become integrated into the economies of their new homelands, particularly in Australia, Israel, South America, France and Poland. In Israel loans were granted to help physically handicapped newcomers to the country to set themselves up in their own businesses.