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31.10.2008 Business & Finance

Small Businesses Receive Support

Barclays Bank of Ghana Ltd, traditionally perceived to deal with only multinationals and big corporations, has made a sharp turnaround with an increased focus to grow the small-and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) sector.

The bank has accordingly inaugurated a centre in Accra to cater for the needs of SMEs.

“Barclays SME Banking, which this centre will cater for, seeks to deepen business relationship in the SME sub-sector,” the Managing Director of the bank, Mrs Margaret Mwanakatwe, said during the launch in Accra.

She explained that the centre would support the sector through the provision of attractive packages, supported by aggressive sales and marketing, monitoring and collection techniques.

The one-stop plush centre will offer a range of banking services such as account opening, credit application processing and disbursement.

The managing director conceded that although the SME sector had a great growth potential, the banking industry was yet to explore opportunities in that segment.

“Our commercial banking function has over the years focused on multinationals and large domestic businesses, with minimal attention on SMEs due to the perceived risk in that sector,” Mrs Mwanakatwe said of the banking industry, adding that Barclays had “decided to focus a lot more on the segment.”

She said SMEs would enjoy tailor-made services and financial advice which would help their businesses to grow.

For some years, Barclays has forged a strong relationship with SMEs with the formation of the SME Local Business Club, which focuses on capacity building and networking through which it had assisted many to travel to some business destinations such as Dubai, China and South Africa.

Nii Tackie Tawiah III, overlord of the Ga Traditional Area, who inaugurated the edifice and Prince Kofi Amoabeng, Chief Executive Officer of UT Financial Services Ltd, guest of honour, both commended Barclays for its sharp shift to support a sector considered the economic backbone of Ghana.

The Head of the SME Centre, Mr Isaac Tetteh, said Barclays had sourced for funding from international organisations such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) to finance the SME sector.

Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey