May 28, 2014 - 16:52 AMT
EFSE success stories. Rafik Vardanyan: doors of my restaurant are always open
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rafik Vardanyan acquired the land of 1129,8 square meters to start his business.
Erzrum restaurant complex has been functioning for over 7 years in Jrvezh district on the outskirts of Armenia’s capital Yerevan. It’s a two-storey construction, with an adjacent green territory used as an open air café.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rafik Vardanyan acquired the land of 1129,8 square meters to start his business. In general, the complex consists of a hall that can seat 40 guests at once, two small halls for 25 and 15 people respectively, as well as separate rooms to serve groups of up to 8 people.

Vardanyan’s cooperation with Araratbank entered its 6th year, with the latest loan of USD 90 000 used for enlargement of the big hall to host more guests.

“I am happy to cooperate with Araratbank. I have four loans, two of which will be paid off soon. I am pleased with the attitude and terms, so I do not rule out another loan for the repair of the hall above,” Vardanyan says, adding that the new branch of the bank that opened nearby recently made the cooperation even easier.

Although the profits have slightly dropped since the beginning of the year, Vardanyan is optimistic about the future, planning to start the repair of the upper floor as soon as this autumn.

“You can never predict how the business will go. You can have you halls full of people for several days in a row and then have an idle week. Anyway, this is life. People are celebrating one day and are grieving on the other. Our doors are open, whatever the occasion is,” he says.

Vardanyan, who pays off his loan ahead of the schedule, says he never waits for the date mentioned in the agreement to return the money to the bank. “If I have cash on hand, I prefer to give it to the bank. The sooner the loans are paid off, the higher are chances for successful future," he says with confidence.

The loans provided by Araratbank totaled AMD 59 bln 594 mln as of end of 2013, increasing by 5932mln against the last year index.

Araratbank has been a partner lending institution (PLI) of the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) since 2010.

“I am extremely gratified that the cooperation between Araratbank and our respected partner, the European Fund for Southeast Europe, which has significant experience in the region and in former Soviet Union countries, has proved such a success within such a short timeframe. Since October 2010, when the USD 5 million loan agreement was signed, we have on-lent funds to micro and small businesses for approximately 110 credit projects. The EFSE’s loan enabled us to provide our clients with increased credit availability and more competitive conditions, and to diversify our loan portfolio,” Ashot Osipyan, Chairman of Araratbank Executive Board said in June 2011, when a second loan agreement to the amount of USD 10 mln was signed.

The project is sponsored by the European Fund for Southeast Europe

Lusine Mkrtumova / PanARMENIAN.Net