JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Self Start Fund (SSF) is appealing to delinquent borrowers to repay loans as it moves to recover some $40 million in outstanding amounts.
  • “SSF is a revolving loan scheme so without repayment, the next generation of borrowers or set of customers will have less money to borrow.”
  • “A customer with good credit rating tells you (the lender) that this customer pays his or her bill(s) on time and in the right amount…so the lender would be confident or somewhat comforted that this customer is a good one,”

The Self Start Fund (SSF) is appealing to delinquent borrowers to repay loans as it moves to recover some $40 million in outstanding amounts.

“This overdue amount has caused us to be taking drastic actions against these customers…so we are pursuing them through the courts, ceasing assets where we have the rights to, and undertaking other methods in order to encourage them to pay back loans,” said SSF General Manager, Sezvin Hamilton.

He told JIS News that the success of the entity weighs heavily on repayment as “SSF is a revolving loan scheme so without repayment, the next generation of borrowers or set of customers will have less money to borrow.”

Mr. Hamilton said he fully endorses the efforts of the Government in working to introduce the Secured Transaction Act, which will aid lenders in better selecting persons for loans.

“The Government realizes that security is a problem for a lot of startups and small businesses, so they have been working on the Act, which will allow people to register their security online and the lenders would get a chance to see what asset has been committed to what and to whom, and they will be guided by that when they are taking assets and security from customers,” the SSF General Manager explained.

“We have had many cases where customers have given the same asset to several lending institutions knowing fully well that what they are borrowing far exceeds the value of the asset, but in early days and maybe up to now, lenders never had much systems in place to verify that these assets are actually able to accommodate security claims,” he pointed out.

Mr. Hamilton also noted that the establishment of the Credit Bureau provides some amount of comfort to a lender, as they are now able to take into consideration, issues such as the credit rating of a customer.

“A customer with good credit rating tells you (the lender) that this customer pays his or her bill(s) on time and in the right amount…so the lender would be confident or somewhat comforted that this customer is a good one,” he pointed out.

Mr. Hamilton said the SSF is now on a mission to rebrand and reposition itself in line with the changing financial landscape and meet the needs of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

“We have to rebrand in order to utilize these facilities properly and with such facilities instituted we (SSF) can consider giving you a loan and be sure that the asset you pledge with us is free or is in a position to accommodate our charge,” the General Manager said.

He explained that currently, the SSF’s repayment period does not exceed 24 months, and is dependent on the loan terms.

“We would look in terms of what the person is doing and how much they are borrowing, how much they can repay based on their financial projection, cash flow, financial statements and all relevant documents… and that will guide us as to how long we should make the loan,” the General Manager outlined.

Loans are accessible to persons involved in agriculture, trading, services and manufacturing-type businesses, up to a maximum of $750,000 at an interest rate of 23 per cent per annum.

Established by the Government in 1983, the SSF provides loans to micro and small entrepreneurs and individuals, who are unable to access financing from traditional financial institutions.