FNB extends lending to SMEs to the value of R30bn
First National Bank (FNB) Business has seen a significant increase in the number of SMEs taking up credit to grow their businesses. During the first six months of its financial year, FNB Business banked SME limits reached more than R30bn on the back of simplified, scored, digital lending processes.
The loans were extended to SMEs with an annual turnover below R60 million. A large portion of the credit was extended to small scale and commercial farmers, SMEs seeking specialised lending including debtor and leverage finance, as well as franchises. The types of loans further included, secured and unsecured loans, commercial property finance, asset finance and broader credit facilities.
The significant growth in SME lending activities is indicative of FNB Business’ continued market share growth as it switches more business clients from competitors. Despite the tough economic environment, the bank has been able to sustain its market leadership position, while growing the commercial customer base by an additional 5%.
The continued growth of FNB Business’ credit book defies the current economic circumstances, with a tougher market facing SMEs in a depressed business environment. FNB Business has gone to great lengths in innovating and reviewing its lending processes and policies to assist SMEs.
For example, in response to the growing demand of unsecured credit from start-up businesses, the bank recently introduced a business booster loan, which has increasingly been taken up by SMEs who would never have qualified for a bank loan.
Holistically, there’s been a significant improvement in the number of FNB-banked SMEs that now qualify for loans. This is a direct result of the improvement in reviewing business credit scores and lending efficiencies.
Finding credit worthy SMEs continues to be a challenge, not just for FNB Business, but the entire industry. This is an area that the bank will continue to prioritise to eliminate the multitude of barriers that exist in extending credit to SMEs.
As a bank built by entrepreneurs, FNB Business understands the challenges facing SMEs. The critical challenge is how do we improve our internal processes to factor in external challenges that impact SMEs financially, like load shedding, when assessing credit applications.
*This article was written by Mike Vacy-Lyle, FNB Business CEO.