Barclays sets aside sh30b for SMEs

14 Aug 2015 | by
Barclays sets aside sh30b for SMEs

Small and medium enterprises will soon have easier access to credit as more banks pledge financing commitments to the business segment.......

 Small and medium enterprises will soon have easier access to credit as more banks pledge financing commitments to the business segment. Barclays Bank of Kenya has stepped in with a Sh30 billion loans commitment to SMEs. Barclays Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the bank would continue to support the sector as part of its plan to help in accelerating economic growth and providing market-specific products.

“Given that this sector contributes about half of the country’s gross domestic product and are now providing 80 per cent of new jobs, there is a significant multiplier effect on our economy if they are funded adequately. We have therefore developed a robust, industry-leading, credit-scoring model that minimises our risk exposure while providing capital to these critical outfits,” Mr Awori said on Tuesday. The financing will be channelled to different credit products designed to suit the SME segment, including asset finance, agribusiness and trade finance.

 Barclays, which is traditionally known to service corporate clients, has increased its focus on the SME segment lately with its “Open Doors” campaign. Its latest credit commitment will be available to SMEs with a turnover of up to Sh300 million.SMEs approaching the bank for credit will now have a single point of contact in all the bank’s 121 branches countrywide. The clients will either be served by an enterprise manager, relationship manager or branch manager to offer them more personalised services, according to the bank. “We are not just throwing money at these ventures. Our resolve is to walk with our partners through the journey. 

Through this offering, we will offer expert business training sessions for the SMEs as well as expose them to international business opportunities through the Barclays Business Club,” Mr Awori said. Barclays reviewed its credit rules for SMEs earlier in the year by introducing a 48-hour turnaround time for loan approvals and the possibility of unsecured lending that goes up to Sh6 million depending on a customer’s risk profile.The renewed focus on SMEs comes at a time other banks made similar commitments following complaints at last month’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit that entrepreneurs in Kenya had poor access to capital.

During the summit, Chase Bank committed to lend Sh60 billion to SMEs, with a focus on youth and women while KCB unveiled Sh1 billion in financing to the Enterprise Fund, set up by the government to provide capital to start-ups.


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