The Jamaica National (JN) Group is to increase its support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with more financing to be made available through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).
JN Bank, the group’s commercial banking arm, is now lending funds to the sector from the DBJ facility at single-digit rates, having recently been designated an approved financial institution (AFI) by the state-owned development bank.
Explaining how JN Bank’s reach will differ from JN Small Business Loans Limited’s (JNSBL’s), Ryan Parkes, chief of business banking at JN Bank, says historically, there is a specific cohort of businesses with financial needs, which the DBJ model, coupled with JN Bank’s expertise and service, are best able to cater to.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises have a greater difficulty accessing financing than the typical large companies. These are those customers who fall short of coming to the table with the requisite collateral, which is a major concern for several businesses,” Parkes explained.
He added that it is much more difficult for SMEs to get loans because they are more informal and sometimes don’t have the required documents needed to access financing.
Parkes pointed out that the bank’s increased capacity to support SMEs means the JN Group will offer a holistic solution to the market.
“On a whole, JNSBL caters to the micro business sector. Although it has some small business clients, its focus is primarily on the micro business space. JN Bank, on the other hand, will be targeting the small businesses that are out of JNSBL’s scope, as well as medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, whether you are a micro, small or medium-sized business, there is a solution for you within the JN Group.” he explained.
He noted that JNSBL offers loans of up $15 million, while JN Bank offers in excess of that figure.
“In fact, a micro entrepreneur, who has been successful and has grown over the years, will no longer be a micro business, but will perhaps be a small business, by definition. Also, that small business can graduate to being a medium-sized business.
“Therefore, if a business has outgrown the offerings of JNSBL, it is now able to tap into the products and services of JN Bank that will better equip it with further growth.”
He said one such product is the JN Bank VISA Infinite Business credit card.
“The JN Bank VISA Infinite Business Credit Card acts as an interest-free loan for businesses for up to 55 days, and small businesses that are in need of constant working capital. Therefore, utilising this product allows businesses to preserve cash while still meeting their financial obligations,” Parkes stated.
He noted that customers are also able to access business advisory services to aid them to better manage and grow their businesses.
“We are very particular about relationship banking and the ability to be able to deliver exceptional customer service to our clients, such as delivering the service on time, providing expert advice, being accessible and providing a personalised service. When the client comes to us with a particular request, we do our expert analysis. Very often, what you find is whatever the customer proposes is not necessarily what they’ll end up with. That is because we, as the experts, will guide the customer for a solution that will better match their needs,” he said.
He added that providing business advice is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of approach, and the JN Bank team will look at each customer’s case uniquely and package the financial solution to meet that need directly.
“JN Bank and JNSBL welcome the partnership with the DBJ and expect great results from the collaboration, especially because this will allow businesses to receive better repayment terms,” said Parkes.