Cuba has decided to ease restrictions on loans to private borrowers in the latest measure aimed at boosting the island’s troubled economy.
Individuals and small businesses can now borrow smaller amounts and have more time to pay back the government.
President Raul Castro had launched the program two years ago as part of measures to reform Cuban socialism.
The minimum lending has been reduced from 3,000 to 1,000 pesos ($67).
The measure was published in the official gazette.
People will also be allowed to use their houses or jewellery to guarantee their loans.
The maximum period of the loans has been extended from five to 10 years.
Earlier this month, the Cuban government lifted restrictions on private individuals buying new and second-hand cars.
Any Cuban citizen or foreigner with enough money will now be allowed to import the vehicles through an official agency.
Previously, official permits were required and they were often issued to government officials, doctors and other people with access to the authorities, such as sports stars.
Although Cubans have been able to request bank credits since 2011, barely 500 are reported to have borrowed money.
The government wants to boost that figure as part of its efforts to encourage 1.5 million people to switch from the state payroll to the new private sector.
Some 440,000 people, or about 9% of the Cuban workforce, are now self-employed.
But analysts point out that the new businesses face a big problem – they all chase a very limited number of Cubans with cash to spend.cuba, loan