JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Self Start Fund (SSF) is reporting a 50 per cent reduction in the $40 million owed by delinquent borrowers.
  • General Manager, Sezvin Hamilton, says the reduction resulted from the agency’s sustained collection efforts undertaken in 2014.
  • Mr. Hamilton said the SSF has also been meeting with clients, still in arrears, to discuss suitable arrangements for repayments.

The Self Start Fund (SSF) is reporting a 50 per cent reduction in the $40 million owed by delinquent borrowers.

General Manager, Sezvin Hamilton, says the reduction resulted from the agency’s sustained collection efforts undertaken in 2014.

“We had to slow lending for a little…and focus on collecting, in order to rebuild our portfolio. Our collection drive has been fairly successful as we have reduced that $40 million outstanding amount from last year, to about half,” he told JIS News.

Mr. Hamilton said the SSF has also been meeting with clients, still in arrears, to discuss suitable arrangements for repayments.

“We have had a lot of delinquent customers coming in and talking to us, (asking) us to understand their difficulty and (to) help them chart a way…to repay us. We have also offered them some incentive, in that…where we charged them (a) penalty fee for not paying on time, we (would) ease up on…or even remove some of these…charges,” he informed.

The General Manager stressed that the entity’s success greatly depends on clients fulfilling their obligations, as “the SSF is a revolving loan scheme; so without repayments,.., (other)…customers will have less money to borrow.”

In that regard, Mr, Hamilton has urged the remaining delinquent borrowers, yet to meet with the SSF to discuss repayment arrangements, to do so as soon as possible.

He also indicated the agency is moving to strengthen its business support service and risk management, and collection regimes, to prevent reoccurrence of significant accumulation of arrears.

“We have come to realize that with (a) robust and focused collection methodology we can do much better and will not end up back in a situation where we have so much money (owed by) delinquent customers,” he outlined.

Mr. Hamilton also pointed out that improved business support service, effective loan assessment, and proper follow-up with customers, should contribute to significantly enhancing the entity’s operations.

“We would look, in terms of what the (prospective client) is doing and how much they are borrowing; how much they can pay, based on their financial projection, cash flow, financial statements, and all relevant documents (presented), so that we can determine with the customer, how much they can manage to pay; and that will guide us as to how long we should make the loan (period),” he outlined.

Established in 1983, the SSF is a Government agency that provides loans to micro and small entrepreneurs, and other individuals, who are unable to access funds from traditional financial institutions, such as commercial banks.

Loans are available for engagements in agriculture, trading, services, and manufacturing, among other activities.

Borrowers can access a maximum of $750,000, at an interest rate of 23 per cent per annum.

 

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