“This is to offer opportunity for potential home grown multi-national companies who lack finance to increase their production to meet the demands of their customers,” Ernest Mawuli Agbesi, Managing Director of the bank said this yesterday.
He made the announcement during an SME business forum themed, “Sustainable SME opportunities in today’s market” held in Accra.
Mr. Agbesi said numerous studies and complaints by SME operators had established that small businesses find it difficult to meet bank requirements to start their business and expand them.
He said some financial institutions had very high lending rates which make it unattractive for start-ups to borrow, since payment could be difficult.
Mr. Agbesi said SMEs play important roles in the economy, contributing about 70 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and account for 85 per cent of manufacturing employment, and 75 per cent of employment in general.
Despite this, SMEs are still faced with treat of failure as statistics indicate that three out of every five SMEs collapse within a few months of its establishment, due to lack of finance,” he said.
Having considered these challenges, Mr. Agbesi noted that the bank had developed the automated scoring system for efficient lending decision to manage SME facilities, to enhance the production and services of the SMEs.
“Where others see business with SMEs as risky, we at GCB see business with the SMEs as an opportunity to develop, nurture, grow and support indigenous businesses,” he said.
Mr. Agbesi said GCB Bank’s interest in business was “not only to take deposit but to brand business, provide strategies, equip their human resource managements to sustain and improve their activities”.
The Head of Consumer Banking of the bank, Mrs. Doris Wunu, disclosed the bank had disbursed over GH¢20 million to about 580 different businesses this year.
She said although SMEs constitute over 92 per cent of registered businesses and nearly 99 of unregistered businesses, they have been neglected by most financial institutions thereby making it difficult for them to function effectively and efficiently.
She called on SMEs to submit their proposals to the bank for consideration, stressing that the bank was committed and willing to support SMEs without any form of collateral requirements.
By Bernard Benghan