Bank of Baroda Tuesday came out of the closet insisting it is walking in the shadow of government efforts to prop-up the small business community, which is predominantly youth and appealing to potential entrepreneurs to knock at their door for financial boost.
For sometime now the government has been fighting tooth and nail to revamp the Small, Medium Enterprises with the view to diversify the economy and, by the same token, calling on the private sector to join the bandwagon as an array of noble initiatives employed could not bring about the intended results.
Admits Neo Tlhaselo, the business development and marketing manager of Bank of Baroda in an interview with Sunday Standard: “Contrary to reports, Bank of Baroda is not contributing considerably and meaningfully to the development of SMEs. I would like to allay fears and insist the bank has for a long time been supporting the sector financially.
“Just like any financial provider around the world, we look at the type of the business, its promoter and the availability of the markets and make thorough analysis to determine the viability of the business,” adds Tlhaselo.
An Indian financial provider by origin, Bank of Baroda set its foot imprints ashore locally in 2001 but has been introvert about its contribution towards nurturing and developing the SMEs. Its rivals, including Barclays bank, First National Bank and Standard Chartered, excitedly and publicly joined the government chorus providing soft loans to the determined and potential entrepreneurs to reinvigorate the sector.
Besides demanding the profile of the potential entrepreneur for scrutiny, Bank of Baroda also insists on assurance of existing funds as security and other logistics to avoid the parties falling in risks.
“These are challenges that we face as financial providers, particularly that these SMEs would, no matter what, come face to face with fierce competition from other big companies. It is all the more prudent for the financial provider therefore to exercise caution to minimize the risks.”
Tlhaselo is further optimistic about the recent developments the government has initiated, her fingers boldly lingering around the Local Enterprise Agency- an institution tasked with the mentoring and providing training for the potential entrepreneurs particularly the vulnerable youths.
“Bank of Baroda is appreciative of the cordial relationships it has with the recent schemes provided by the government and, in particular, LEA, whose mandate is to develop small business community by offering mentoring and training to the youths,” she noted, adding, “Experience has revealed business trained individuals tend to prosper faster than the uncooked.”
The latter group, she says, history has shown is prone to problems in recovering the loans, reiterating the vitality of having the institution such a LEA in partnership to hoist the small business community flag high.
To facilitate the smooth running of the initiative, Bank of Baroda indiscriminately welcomes every facet either individually or as joint partners, calling on the potential entrepreneurs to try their luck with the institution for financial gain.
“We call on the youth to take advantage of the schemes provided by our bank in its endeavour to assist SMEs. Bank of Baroda welcomes individuals and joint partners in this exercise to bring about proposals so that we can work out finances to those individuals whose ventures the bank is convinced about their overtures,” the marketing manager insists.