Sunday, November 28

Bank aims to boost assistance for SMEs


Aria Putera Ismail

KUALA LUMPUR: Pushing small medium enterprises (SMEs) to strive further and to enhance SME Bank Malaysia Bhd’s role in providing financial assistance to targeted SMEs is the main goal of its newly-appointed chief executive officer (CEO) Aria Putera Ismail.

He said the three pillars in managing the bank were human capital, products and programmes as well as, portfolio and policy.

“We are looking at improving the asset quality as well as improving our talent. This bank’s important fundamental is to push SMEs to strive further as they serve as the country’s backbone, he told Bernama.

Aria highlighted that although the bank did not give out any grants for SMEs entrepreneurs, it provided financing and beyond, such as entrepreneur development programmes and entrepreneur premises complex.

SME Bank had approved more than RM29 billion to nurture and finance more than 16,000 SMEs since 2005.

In the future, Aria said the bank would undertake high impact initiatives to provide customised solutions for SMEs through the development of comprehensive financing programmes such as Ecosystem Financing Programme and Umbrella Financing Programme.

“Ecosystem Financing Programme is vital for the development of SMEs as it is crucial in ensuring a balanced growth and shared prosperity as the country embarked on its transition into a high value-added, high-income economy,” he said.

Pushing SMEs to strive further and to enhance SME Bank’s role in providing financial assistance to targeted SMEs is the main goal of its newly-appointed CEO Aria.

Aria added that the bank was also eager to expand further into high-impact sectors like green field and digital technology while collaborate with other commercial banks via syndication deals and the introduction of e-Wallet and SME marketplace.

As of now, the bank has listed 21 initiatives including major steps into digital technology transformation, strategies for SMEs’ development based on ever-changing and challenging economic environment, characterised by globalisation, liberalisation and advancement in information, as well as, communications technology, in line with the government’s desire for IR4.0.

“This includes creating an ecosystem which would not only benefit the bank in assessing credit quality but also monitor the performance and allow SME players to look at new opportunities within the digital ecosystem that we will be venturing into,” he said.

Today, SME Bank stands out as the only Malaysian development financial institution that has established the Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research (CEDAR), a wholly owned subsidiary, that provides a variety of intervention services that include research based training, business coaching, function based facilitation and entrepreneur mentoring.

“These tailor-made intervention services are crucial, since over the years we discovered that although SMEs are highly motivated; they are lacking in basic fundamental knowledge and skills in managing and sustaining their business e.g. financial management and marketing & branding aspects,” Aria said.

Besides, SME Bank has launched several new financing programmes such as MySMExport, a financing programme for exporters and potential exporters to only purchase new fixed assets but also for working capital.

MySMELady was officiated by the Deputy Prime Minister cum Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail on October 8, to encourage the involvement of women entrepreneurs, focusing on upward migration, business expansion and growth. It also has a subordinated financing programme in collaboration with the Empowering Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit to provide financing to Bumiputera companies if there is a shortfall in project and plant or machinery cost.

“With these initiatives in place, SMEs will be deemed to be more competitive in the global market in the near future. This will be a push for e-commerce players,” he added. — Bernama