FNB commits to SMEs loan scheme

Martin Endjala

The First National Bank of Namibia today announced its commitment towards the Small and Medium Enterprise businesses’ loan schemes by deploying funds aimed at helping businesses get set for economic recovery.

This comes after the announcement of the re-launch of loan schemes announced last week by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Namibia.

According to FNB Chief Executive Officer Erwin Tjipuka, the announcement by the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises and BON, and as a member of the Bankers Association of Namibia, FNB is proud to partner with the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises and other Namibia Banks on this initiative.

Tjipuka commended the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises and BON for their emphatic response to businesses that have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the adverse impact of Covid-19.

“We believe BON’s guarantee allows us to continue honouring our obligation to depositors while using our credit extension capabilities to be a conduit for the Government’s support of businesses”, the CEO said.

Tjipuka further stated that the move is evidence that partnerships can help Namibia decisively respond to genuine economic recovery. Additionally, the scheme aims to provide additional funding to qualifying businesses to grow the Namibian economy and foster job creation within the country.

He further explained that this decision was taken to demonstrate FNB’s commitment to leveraging the SME economic recovery loan scheme as an invaluable SME support mechanism. “This financial support will allow many to optimize their operations to potentially withstand the current economic pressures, ‘’says Tjipuka.

Meanwhile, FNB Executive for Commercial Banking Sepo Haihambo says they have already begun processing applications and will enhance the processes as they ready themselves to go live on 13 Feb 2023, to ensure that customers can access the loans seamlessly across its branch network.

She further noted that the Loan Scheme is not about emergency financial relief but is an opportunity for the banks to contribute to the growth, development, and resilience of the entire SME sector. “The Recovery Loan Scheme with revised requirements has the potential to act as a real catalyst of growth for SMEs, which is more important than ever in terms of contributing to the country’s sustainable economic recovery.”

FNB Head of Business Banking responsible for SME and Mid Touch segment Tomas Iindji emphasized that while the previous Covid-19 assistance loans were restrictive in terms of qualifying criteria and what businesses could use the funding for, the application processes for these SME Economic Recovery Loan Schemes are far simpler, and applicants are not limited in terms of how they can use the funding.

Adding that the only restrictions are that the loans cannot be used to repay shareholder loans or settle debt and entities and sole proprietors must be tax registered. This means that companies are able to invest the funding into the aspect of their business they need to in order to support its future growth.

Iindji assures customers that FNB will prioritise the provision of the SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme, as the default term lending solution, for business clients with an annual turnover of between N$0 – N$60 million.

The application process is said to include FNB’s stringent internal credit process, as well as the overall qualifying criteria set out by the Bank of Namibia. Clients are thus advised to check the FNB website and App or talk to their Relationship Managers for more information.

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