Credit unions should be included, says Holder


THE Small Business Association (SBA) wants this country’s credit unions to be part of the $75 million lending facility created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), so as to assist small businesses.
So says CEO of the Association, Ms. Lynette Holder. The funds are being administered by the Central Bank of Barbados.
Holder said that there are several intermediary financial institutions that are identified for accessing some of the funds on behalf of small businesses. 
“We are pleased to note that First Citizens Bank is one of the first to be able to access the IDB guarantee funds for the sector,” she said.
“So we are calling for credit unions to be included on the list of intermediaries that the sector can go and that those credit unions can also access those guarantee funds,” she added.
Holder further stated that this recommendation had been made in the pre-Budget discussions with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, who, according to her, expressed support for the proposal. 
“So we are hopeful it will be done shortly,” the CEO said.
Senior Banker at First Citizens, Kaye Brathwaite, said First Citizens is one of the first banks to access funding through the IDB guarantee fund for the small businesses.
“We look to support the sector as much as we can and we look to give advice for those persons coming through our doors as much as we can and on how they can package their business proposals and be successful when applying for financing,” Brathwaite noted.
She said that the Bank has given a fair amount of support to the local small business sector over the last two years or so. 
Financing amounts, she explained, ranged from about $50 000 to $200 000 to $250 000 depending on the industries involved. 
Holder further noted that they “are always ready and willing to support any initiative that would bring new products to the sector. But we tend to prefer the more direct route for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises accessing funds”.
She stated that firms require money and the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs is cognisant that there needs to be grants in the mix and that too would help the process.
In the Budget, Sinckler promised to utilise monies tied up in the Industrial Credit Fund, which currently resides in the Central Bank of Barbados, to assist small businesses. (JB)


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