Cuba eases rules for small business lending


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HAVANA (AP) - Cuba says it's easing the terms of lending to private business owners in an attempt to boost the country's new small business sector.

The new rules were published in the country's Official Gazette this week and publicized by state media Saturday. They let private businesspeople take out loans for as little as 1,000 pesos, or $41, a third less than the previous minimum.

The terms of repayment can now extend up to 10 years, with bank presidents authorized to extend them even longer in certain cases.

Earlier this year, Cubans were allowed to use personal property such as real estate and jewelry as collateral for loans.

The number of islanders working for themselves has stalled for the past two years at about 444,000 _ or 9 percent of the workforce.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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