JERUSALEM, June 1 (Reuters) - Israel’s Ogen Group said on Monday it raised $30 million to provide emergency loans and financial mentoring to small businesses, non-profits and unemployed and furloughed workers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Ogen, a non-profit organisation that gives both interest-free and low-interest loans, said it is seeking to raise another $70 million to meet the growing credit needs of individuals and businesses. It noted it can currently finance 5,000 loans per year, far less than what is needed in the wake of COVID-19. More than 1 million Israeli workers have registered as unemployment but more than half are self-employed and not eligible for benefits, while over 20,000 small businesses have been turned down for state-backed loans, Ogen said. It has already issued a first wave of emergency loans, distributing $2 million in interest-free personal loans, close to $3 million to small businesses and more than $3.5 million to help non-profit organizations. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)