The SME Bank has managed to reach one of its key goals by increasing the loan book with 80% from N$315 million to N$566 million.
This growth in loans value is as a result of an increase in the number of successful borrowers that rose from 1,066 to 3,141 in 2016.
Qualifying and eligible borrowers include individuals, informal traders, formal small and medium enterprises (SME) owners, and corporates.
According to Head of Risk and Credit of SME Bank, Emmanuel Masule, the Bank has made an impact in terms of financial inclusiveness by having perfected mobile banking with value added services making it easier and cost effective for clients to transact.
He also said that savings and investments by individuals and SME owners went up by 68% to reach 17,500 accounts in total.
The banking official added that a new business support unit was set up in-house to provide SME training, mentorship, market linkages, turnaround and workout plans for struggling SMEs.
Masule further noted that when it comes to outreach initiatives, SME Bank’s national footprint remains limited consisting of the main branch in Windhoek’s central business district, and branches in the Katutura suburb of Windhoek, Ongwediva and Rundu.
“The Bank would want to reach out to remote areas and towns where there is no representation through mobile banking solutions and by collaborating with partners who have a presence in those areas to deliver credit and transactional services before the branch roll-out program is completed,” Masule said.
Masule also touched on the initiatives and programs the Bank has in store for 2017, which amongst others include the rolling-out of the international banking department to serve importers and exporters; resumption of the branch roll-out project; introduction of credit card products and the introduction of home loan products.
The banking institution would also want to realign and reconfigure staff members, banking technologies, infrastructure systems, and processes to accelerate momentum to profitability.
The SME Bank’s mandate is to provide financial support to SMEs, individuals, local authorities and other government bodies across the board.
SME Bank has a full commercial banking services and also offer loans to individuals and companies that are not necessarily SME’s, through personal banking (retail), corporate banking, treasury and investment management.
The SME Bank got partly owned by Government following the dissolution of the Small Business Credit Guarantee Trust (SBCGT) that was transformed into a fully-fledged commercial banking institution.
The Bank provides special attention to projects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and those catering to rural communities, micro enterprises and previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs).
The SME Bank is also the first of its kind in Namibia since independence and has a public- private partnership shareholding.
The Bank has a list of criteria that is obtainable online or at any of the branches that serves as guidelines when applying for a loan.
To date, the profile of borrowers is diverse whilst SME proportion remains significant at around 30% in line with the Bank’s mandate.