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FNB Business continues its focus on growing SMEs

17 July 2017 Mike Vacy-Lyle, FNB
Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business.

Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business.

FNB Business is taking proactive steps to increase and diversify existing levels of support for SMEs in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan. The bank is implementing strategy that supports government’s national imperatives to accelerate transformation and inclusive economic growth.

Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business says, “FNB is well positioned as a leading business banking franchise. We continue to focus on understanding the needs of entrepreneurs – something we call “businessism” – basically understanding the challenges that businesses have, and trying to help solve for this.”

FNB has made great strides in increasing access to digital banking offerings enabling young businesses; facilitating quicker and efficient access to credit and fostering inclusivity in lending activities, ultimately supporting the development of the SME ecosystem.

FNB’s strategy encompasses four primary objectives:

1. Providing innovative and market leading solutions across all business segments with a strong focus on fast growing niche areas such as Agriculture, Franchising, Medical Businesses and Education

2. Providing real value to customers through the provision of non-traditional banking solutions like Instant Accounting, Payroll and BEE accreditation; cloud based document management solutions; CIPC registrations and maintenance, to mention a few

3. Enabling, growing and supporting financial inclusion and access to market for SMEs through Structured Lending, Enterprise Development, Supplier Development and Preferential Procurement initiatives

4. Development of value propositions for underserved markets yielding economic and social impact

Vacy-Lyle says public-private sector partnerships have proved to be highly effective within SME ecosystems in emerging markets. He points out that FNB Business is no stranger to working with the public sector and has a number of active initiatives already operational, including:

• FNB’s Vumela Enterprise Development Fund partners with the Jobs Fund to mobilise funding to early stage, scalable SMEs with the primary aim of efficient job creation. The Vumela Fund has committed in excess of R200m, supporting 1591 jobs to date;
• Working closely with the Gauteng Provincial Government to incubate and mentor their SME suppliers, aiming to reach 1,000 entrepreneurs through this engagement;
• FNB Agriculture has risk sharing initiatives with both Khula and SEFA totalling R220m, and is working together with the Banking Association and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to facilitate land reform transactions;
• Furthermore, FNB has established an academy which provides technical assistance and training to Public sector

He says the FNB will continue to seek partnerships to access alternate funding sources, risk sharing relationships and business development support platforms.

“An example of this is the additional funding FNB has accessed from the IFC for deployment into the SME sector. A progressively deeper engagement could stimulate opportunities for FNB to play a leadership role in currently under-banked and underserved markets,” explains Vacy-Lyle.

“Our commitment to empowering SMEs includes helping businesses navigate the legislative and regulatory requirements in setting up a business, which we facilitate through FNB’s CIPC business registration partnership, as well as Instant BEE certification offering,” he adds.

FNB Business Instant Solutions includes a suite of offerings including an accounting system, which also affords payroll administration, invoicing functionality, cash management and budgeting. This offering is provided free of charge to the entrepreneur.

These offerings are making a significant difference, with 185,000 businesses availing of Instant Solutions and more than 3,000 CIPC applications being facilitated monthly. Approximately 22,000 business accounts are opened monthly, with more than half of them being held for black-owned businesses. FNB’s automated credit environment alleviates the complexities normally encountered by SMEs when accessing credit, allowing for unsecured credit applications online.

“Our ongoing contribution to the national agenda remains a priority to us and we are excited about the opportunities and latent value we believe our strategy will unlock,” concludes Vacy-Lyle.

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