Barclays more than doubles SME loans fund to Sh500m

Karen Kiambi
Barclays head of Enterprise and Supply Chain Development programme Karen Kiambi at the launch of the initiative in July last year. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK has up-scaled its Enterprise Supply Development (ESD) fund, which targets small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to Sh500 million after successfully piloting the programme for over a year.

The programme finances SMEs that supply goods and services to corporate firms on the basis of a valid contract with said companies.

It has been on a pilot programme for one year-and-a-half, benefiting more than 50 SMEs, which were identified through Barclays’ corporate customers.

Initially, the lender had set aside Sh150 million for the pilot programme and has so far disbursed Sh131 million.

“As a unit, we are indeed proud to be among the first market in the Absa family to roll out this programme and we are excited at the progress we have made to date,” said Karen Kiambi, Barclays Kenya head of ESD during a customer engagement event held yesterday in Nairobi.

“We can confidently say that we are now ready to build further on it by offering it to more clients and as time goes by, we shall be making available more resources to support the product.”

The fund has incorporated several firms through which SMEs get the loans.

They include Safaricom, Allpack Industries, Nairobi Hospital, Gertrude’s Children Hospital, Kenya Wines Agency Limited, Unilever and East African Breweries Ltd.

The ESD contracts are made between Barclays and the corporate firm with the understanding that the company has vetted its SMEs and therefore can be trusted to pay back.

Also, the company commits to pay the suppliers through the bank to enable recovery.

The lender, recently divorced from UK-based Barclays Plc, has taken to pursuing new business lines it had avoided due to restrictions from the British lender.