Business

Access Financial welcomes SMEs

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises can qualify for loans up to $20 million

BY KELLARAY MILES
Observer business writer

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Access Financial Services (AFS), the microcredit company is signalling that it is ready and waiting to engage more entrepreneurs and members of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector who want to secure quick loans for their businesses.

Marcus James, chief executive officer and executive director of the company, made it known that his company gives loans up to $20 million to these entities.

“We do lend to SMEs — up to 20 million; we started lending loans to SMEs up to four — years ago, and we do have competitive products that we offer to them (SMEs) at competitive rates”, he shared in an interview with the Business Observer following the company's recent annual general meeting.

He said that the rates on these loans range from 15 to 25 per cent per annum with up to five years to repay. He argued that with interest rates being reduced now is a good time to take advantage of the loan options available.

“Rates are coming down and interest margins are narrowing. In terms of giving loans our rates have come down to maintain the growth in our portfolio and, based on that we have seen, a significant increase in our year-over-year disbursement,” he said.

James indicated that though entities like Access gets strong competition from other financial institutions his company is still able to remain buoyant.

“Locally, the 2019 financial year was characterised by increased competitive pressure from those regulated financial institutions and micro-finance companies. These external factors necessitated that Access reduce its net interest to maintain market share on portfolio growth,” he shared.

“During the year, the interest rate was reduced effecting a nine per cent growth in the company's loan book which moved from $2.9 to $3.2 billion in 2019,” he indicated.

James noted that his company's flexibility and quick turnaround time (averaging five days) are some of the things that make it attractive for loans. He urged small businesses to come to access when they are hassled by banks and other financiers. He spoke to several innovative marketing strategies that will be fully utilised to enhance customer awareness of their products and services.

“The 'My Access' mobile app was launched in December 2018, providing a convenient way for customers to access our loan products,” James informed.


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