The Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP has opened countrywide forums with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) customers as it starts lending the Sh15.2 billion loan facility from International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The top-tier lender said on Friday that the networking sessions will help prepare MSMEs to have capacity to utilise the facility to spur growth in a segment that has for long been viewed as very risky to lend to.
Director of retail and business banking Arthur Muchangi said in the first forum in Nairobi that MSMEs are the bedrock of wealth creation in Kenya and accessing credit will stimulate jobs in the country.
“In partnership with IFC, the bank expended a lot of resources on customer engagements and research work to understand the dynamics of this critical business segment,” said Mr Muchangi.
The networking forums aim at filling the skill and knowledge gap of the small companies through business insights and training on economic matters that have a direct bearing on their businesses.
The forums will be held across the country, and feature a detailed presentation by economists from the bank on opportunities within and outside Kenya that MSMEs can tap with financing partnerships from Co-operative Bank.
Bank representatives and successful entrepreneurs will hold panel discussions to help MSMEs build successful business models. The bank says it wants to extend at least 20 per cent of its lending to the MSME sector.
The sessions will give MSMEs a good chance to get unsecured loans from the bank, according to Mr Muchangi, who added that the new product offers revised and pre-approved limits on overdrafts and loans.
“We have made available a substantial kitty of Sh15.2 billion for a package of loans that include an unsecured business loan, a first of its kind in Kenya,” said Mr Muchangi.