First Global Bank rolls out ‘easy’ banking solutions for Jamaican MSMEs

In a bid to facilitate their access to finance, First Global Bank (FGB) has launched two new initiatives targeting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

FGB Easy Start Business Accounts will see the bank simplifying the requirements needed for businesses to open bank accounts with as little as $1,000 after providing a Government-issued identification, tax registration number (TRN), and business registration, licences or trade name certificates.

FGB pointed out that the MSME sector has struggled with finding solutions for their businesses in the early stages of their operation as complex know-your-customer (KYC) requirements for opening business accounts and the risk associated with early-stage financing has necessitated that businesses and individuals, small, medium or large; undertake expensive loans that stress their operating costs instead of enabling capacity building.

FGB vice-president of personal and business banking Arlene Williams told the Jamaica Observer that FGB was authorised by the Bank of Jamaica to ease the business bank account requirements for low- to medium-risk customers.
Additionally, through FGB’s Early Stage Financing, start-ups operational for two years or less can get access to financing up to JM$15 million.

First Global Bank Vice-president of personal and business banking Arlene Williams (Photo: Travis Muschette)

“We require again not much because these are persons that have been in business for less than 24 months so they might not have audited financials; so we ask for in-house financials or business plans and cash flow projections. With this it makes it easier for them to make these documents available for our assessments on their businesses,” Williams told Sunday Finance.

She added, “It’s very hard for start-ups to get funding and based on the fact that they are start-ups they don’t [have] much track records and that’s why [FBG] isn’t asking for security, they can get this [loan] unsecured”.

If unable to provide these documents, Williams proposed that MSMEs can take advantage of the Development Bank of Jamaica’s (BDJ) SERVE Jamaica Programme.

Jamaican MSMEs to benefit from DBJ’s SERVE programme

“They can also use the DBJ voucher where they can access up to $200,000 and hire someone to [assist with financial documents]. The in-house management account is something that they themselves can give us along with their bank statement to collaborate what is there in their management accounts,” she said.

Through the SERVE Jamaica Programme, the DBJ will offer JM$1 billion in MSME Go-Digital Loans to support MSMEs’ investment in software and digital technologies that increase their resilience in the COVID-19 environment. In addition, there will be $2 billion in MSME Recovery Loans that support MSMEs with working capital support, refinancing of loans, and expansion credit as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.