Barclays to go easy on broke SME clients
1 months ago, 20 Oct 00:09
Barclays Bank has embarked on a plan to de-risk suppliers affected by delays in payments by the national and county governments.
This follows complaints by suppliers and contractors that they risk being listed by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) for defaulting on loans.
Barclays Bank Head of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Susan Situma said the financial institution is in talks with affected customers to help them grow their companies.
“We are taking the proactive measure to de-risk SMEs that are facing challenges as a result of the delays and to ensure they are not listed on CRB,” she said during a training workshop for SMEs in Eldoret.
Ms Situma said the bank will continue to fund SME initiatives despite the cap on interest rates and increased internal borrowing by the Government.
“The State’s domestic borrowing is rising but this has instead increased our appetite for lending to SMEs,” she said.
“Many SMEs are suppliers and we are now having discussions on extensions of tenure for the loans they borrowed from us. We are inviting them for talks because we want to be known as the bank that is helping SMEs grow.”
Banks are limited to charging interest on loans at no more than four per cent above the Central Bank Rate, which is currently at nine per cent.
Situma said Barclays has set aside Sh500 million to support firms in the enterprise supply business as part of a wider Sh2 billion lending plan that it launched five years ago.
At least 200 Eldoret-based SMEs took part in the discussions, where they expressed concern over lack of skills to manage businesses during economic crises.
Barclays said it would train the firms in financial and customer management, and deployment of technology.
Situma said they are engaging in a countrywide scheme, in partnership with business coaches to train at least 5,000 SME owners on how to grow their businesses.
Category: business news