“Several thousand” local small business enterprises continue to benefit from the package of products and services available under Scotiabank’s small business lending programme, Manager Marketing Jennifer Cipriani told Stabroek Business in an interview earlier this week. Scotiabank, Cipriani says, is “very pleased with the response to its small business banking launched in February 2010.” And while issues associated with risk management and delinquency have arisen in public discourse on commercial bank lending for small business financing Cipriani said that the bank has had “no major delinquency problems” as far as its small business lending regime is concerned.
Scotiabank’s small business lending facility, according to Cipriani, was open to business enterprises that generate around at least about $120,000.00 per month. “It is a small business lending facility not one that caters for micro-enterprises,” she explained.
Cipriani explained that while the formal launch of the bank’s small business lending programme took place more than two years ago, lending for modest business projects had been available through the bank prior to February 2010. Scotia’s small business lending service has attracted applicants from several sectors including forestry, retail trading, transportation, fisheries, education and beauty.
Asked about the bank’s approach to marketing its small business lending product Cipriani said that Scotia had opted for “targeted marketing” through special events like the Building Expo and business publications. “We have also placed advertisements on the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) website which has been used to promote the various services available to small business customers borrowers. The bank has also been doing a lot of field work,” she added. Scotia, Cipriani told Stabroek Business has also been using its website www.guyana.scotiabank.com) to reach target audiences that might be in the market for its small business banking services. “Frankly, people who need to know more about the services that we offer need hardly visit the bank in the first instance. It’s all there in on our website. The services
detailed on the bank’s website include cash management and merchant services to facilitate online banking and e-commerce; borrowing facilities such as credit cards, term loans and overdraft protection; and deposit accounts. Scotiabank also offers several free online tools on its website to support small business owners, including a Business Plan Writer and tips on how to successfully manage their businesses. And Cipriani-Nelson told Stabroek Business that part of its focus in its engagements with small business borrowers was on responsible business management. practices. She said that efficient management of lending by commercial banks was important in any circumstance since banks have a responsibility to protect trhe assets of their depositors’ money. She said that while the volume of information requested by commercial banks had become the subject of much public discourse Scotiabank’s position was that it was important to receive the type of information necessary to properly assess the business’ current operations and long term potential. “Scotiabank also wants to ensure that it stays true to its mission of helping customers become financially better off by not granting loans which applicants will be unable to service,” she added.