By Business Reporter
DEVELOPMENT Bank of Namibia (DBN) Chief Executive Officer, Martin Inkumbi, has announced that the bank will resume its financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The announcement follows in the wake of the suspension SME Bank’s operations.
Commenting on the resumption of DBN’s SME financing, Inkumbi says that due to the gap in the market, the bank and Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, who is the shareholder representative, have agreed that DBN should take the necessary steps to resume its financing activities for SMEs.
Inkumbi says that the bank has the capacity, the necessary pool of capital, as well as the ability, to redirect human resource capacity to fill the gap.
Previously, the bank shifted its focus to providing finance for larger enterprises. Inkumbi, however, stated that the bank has maintained its stable of SME borrowers, which it developed prior to its shift in focus, and that new borrowers will be inducted into the current system.
Asked about what SME borrowers can expect from DBN, Inkumbi said that new applicants will be required to demonstrate the viability of their proposals, in terms of the bank’s assessment process, including business plans, the necessary human resources to maintain operations, the willingness to share risks with the bank, while showing consideration for the various aspects of risk entailed in their individual applications.
Asked about new elements that may impact SMEs, Inkumbi notes that DBN has put in place an environmental and social management system, to ensure adherence to the relevant environmental and social legislation, in order to minimise the negative impacts on the environment.
He also says that the bank has introduced a client support function, which can provide c o a c h i n g and mentorship to further develop the capacity of SMEs.
On the topic of the current SME Bank borrowers, Inkumbi stated that DBN will not necessarily be taking over existing loans, but will consider new financing requirements, to start and or expand business activities.
All applications for finance will be subject to DBN’s normal due diligence process. This process, he explains, has been tested and refined over the years, since the bank’s inception in 2004.
All applications for SME finance will be treated on individual merit, based on the appraisal of the bank’s portfolio managers, as well as its credit and risk committees.
Inkumbi directed potential applicants to the bank’s website, www.dbn.com. na, where they can find out more about the requirements for borrowing and also download application forms.
The bank, Inkumbi added, is aware of the importance of SMEs for the economic development of Namibia. Consequently, successful applicants for SME finance can expect more, in terms of support.
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