The NIC Bank has launched a bouquet of products targeting Small and Micro Entrepreneurs (SMEs )in the Nyanza region through a workshop held at the Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu.
The bank that has built a name as a dominant player in the asset finance sector took the step after pilot products in the region proved popular, a factor that saw its asset finance loan-book in Kisumu becoming among the biggest in the bank’s portfolio.
Retail director Robert Kibaara who presided over the task to be taken by the bank said Kisumu’s SMEs sector is one of the fastest growing in the region and deserves products tailored to suit its unique needs.
We have created a large number of products for SMEs that we wanted to announce today. The Kisumu branch is one of the best performing in the country and we want to improve our relationship with the, said Robert Kihaara NIC Retail Director.
He also said that they have partnered with Africa Trading Insurance to ensure that the bank helps entrepreneurs have a smooth growth which has recently raised bank loan participation to 95% of an asset’s worth in what he terms an exciting move to their clients.
We have partnered with African Trading Insurance (ATI) to ensure that collateral is no longer the glass ceiling that prevents entrepreneurs from growing. Once the loans are insured then people with good business ideas in Kisumu and elsewhere can take loans even with very little or no collateral. We have also extended the terms of payment from 60 to 72 months, giving clients a chance to pay back loans comfortably, added Kibaara
The opportunity also served as a training forum for the clients of the bank, many of whom have had poor relationships with their banks in the past and may not get an opportunity to understand financial insignificant.
There are many legal issues which we as SMEs players often disregard but which could land you in trouble with the law. Today I had the opportunity to engage the bank and seek direction, said Prime Jet Petroleum Services Proprietor Charles Juma, whose has increased his fleet of fuel tankers from 1 truck to more than 5 in less than a year in partnership with NIC Bank.
James Ochieng, a Kisumu based contractor who undertakes projects in real estate and public works, took the opportunity to engage the bank on Local Purchase Order (LPO) financing said he was satisfied with explanations given by the bank on how the loans can be paid despite delays on the authorities payment.
For those of us who work with County Governments, repayment of loans may be a headache when authorities don’t pay us on time and I wanted a clear guideline on how to handle this. So far I think I am well satisfied with what they said, said Ochieng a County Contractor.
The financial institution also launched other products including cash management solutions, credit cards, medical insurance and mortgage products with the plan to group them together so that they can get different benefits as they are tailor-made for them.
Today we also wanted the clients to network because many of them work in the same sectors. We hope to group them in clusters and take them for seminars in different places where they can learn better business techniques, said Emily Oyugi, the Kisumu Branch Business Manager.
NIC Bank becomes the first financial institution to offer dedicated training for its clients in Kisumu, the move comes amidst an expansion of its focus beyond the traditional niche it serves, to areas such as micro-business that have been the domain of other banks.
Kisumu business people should take advantage of these new opportunities that will propel their businesses into national and regional players as the East African economy expands, this is the main economic hub between Kenya and the Great Lakes region, said Robert Olilo, the bank’s Relations Manager.
By Fred Omulo.
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