Eiman takes reigns of DBN’s SME Finance

01 October 2020 | Banking

Seasoned veteran of business finance, Robert Eiman, has taken over the reigns of the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) SME Finance department.
This move follows the bank’s resumption of SME activities in 2018. The department was previously managed by acting head, Hellen Amupolo, who is now acting head of investments.
Talking about his mandate, Eiman said his priority will be to sustainably grow the bank’s SME portfolio. He will also manage the skills-based facility for young professionals and artisans which is housed in the SME function, as well as the apex micro-lending facility. “The apex micro-lending facility makes capital available for micro-lenders with a beneficial development impact to lend onwards to the public,” he said.
Eiman said that the operational emphasis will be to strengthen due diligence on applications. “The recession and Covid-19 has shown that it is vital that applicants show the best possible prospects of success. This will secure the financial wellbeing of owners, as well as their employees.”
He pledged to find ways to speed up application assessments, however cautioned applicants to ensure that their documentation is complete.
Asked if there was a recipe for success, Eiman answered that there was no single winning formula for SMEs as each is unique. “For this reason, each business must do their own application and not rely on consultants or readymade business plans that do not acknowledge the differences between businesses,” he said.
He added that there are several characteristics of successful SMEs, “the first of which is a rigorous approach to accounting and financial management. SMEs are fuelled by accounts and debt obligations. Rigorous financial administration enables SMEs to meet their obligations and not fall behind in payments. Unpaid bills place financial pressure on SMEs, and this leads to failure.”
The second characteristic of success, is for owners to budget their salaries, rather than making drawings against the business account, and the third characteristic is partnerships rather than sole proprietorships.
Eiman was formerly acting head of investments at DBN. His experience in the field of SMEs is augmented by experience as head of SMEs at FNB Namibia. He holds an MBA (UNAM and various certificates from the Institute of Bankers).