Another option for SMEs

08 March 2018 | Banking

To support small and medium enterprises following the closure of the SME Bank, the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) announced the opening of its SME Centre in Windhoek to help bridge the financing gap.

DBN's CEO Martin Inkumbi said that while there are financing options for SMEs in the commercial banking sector, it is important to finance SMEs that have lower levels of collateral available but still present a high degree of potential in terms of sustainability.

In terms of the day-to-day operations of the SME Centre, Inkumbi said that although it can superficially be seen as finance for SMEs, the operation is underpinned by several layers of support, particularly in the pre-application phase.

In this phase, the bank focuses on the business planning process.

“Without a realistic and achievable business plan,” Inkumbi said, “the applicant places herself / himself in a position of financial risk when borrowing. “To this end, the bank has developed a business plan content guide that is available to potential borrowers.

“The bank's support will also extend to advising on completion of applications, and documents and certification required for the application. We want our borrowers to have the best possible prospect of success,” Inkumbi said.

Once the complete application, business plan and documentation is received, due diligence can proceed, after which the bank will respond to the application.

“Once the loan agreement has been concluded, the bank will engage in rigorous monitoring to identify borrowers who run into difficulty, and provide corrective support if justified.

Inkumbi urged applicants to give their best during the planning and application phase.

With regards to the DBN's SME financing process, Inkumbi said the bank's operation bears no relation to the SME Bank, adding that the DBN has no intention to operate in the retail banking field, and views itself as a pure development finance institution.

“DBN is a bank that seeks excellence. When borrowers succeed in their businesses, the bank has succeeded in its endeavour to assist them, and to develop the nation.”

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