Lenders have begun shifting their operations to fit the new normal, pursuing elements that will see them deepen their role in stabilizing the country’s macro-economic environment following the hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the heart of the reconfigured role has been onwards lending particularly to small businesses which make up the bulk of enterprises in the country.
On its part, Stanbic Bank has set its sights on greater SME support as part of its sustainability agenda aligned to Kenya’s National Development Plan which encompasses; job creation and enterprise development, education, financial inclusion, health, environment and climate change, infrastructure development and Africa Trade and Investments.
According to its sustainability blueprint, every Sh100 lent out to an SME business releases a 12 fold impact into the economy equitable to Sh1200.
When rounded off to mirror billions of shillings in allocations to the MSME segment by the banking sector, the impact would run into trillions.
Last year, the bank moved to integrate women who represent the majority owners of SMEs through the Dare to Aspire Dare to Achieve program (DADA) which has so far lent out Sh585 million to over 18,000 beneficiaries.
“Our journey has been exciting yet challenging. With the advent of COVID-19, we carried out an analysis and partnered with key stakeholders to address gaps within the society to offer support to those in need in a sustainable manner”
“We acknowledge that Kenya is our home, and we continue to drive her social and economic growth,” said Pauline Mbayah, the Head of Stanbic Kenya Foundation
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On his part, Stanbic Bank Kenya CEO Charles Mudiwa says the lender remains cognizant of its role in enhancing the macro-economic environment via its lending operations.
But it is not Stanbic alone that is keen on uplifting the sector responsible for nearly one-third of the country’s annual GDP.
Equity and KCB Group have for instance entered partnerships with global development entities such as the MasterCard Foundation and Proparco to unlock billions in new SME funds countering lending uncertainties occasioned by the pandemic
“It is imperative that we communicate back to our key stakeholders the impact we have made through our various initiatives and partnerships. We pride ourselves in being accountable and transparent in the work we do. We have made sure to prioritized people over profits as we acknowledge that we cannot operate in isolation and must therefore uplift our society in order to survive,” he said.
Mr. Mudiwa was speaking during the unveiling of the Stanbic’s Sustainability Report on 10th of November 2012.
The report detailed a raft of profit with initiatives that the lender is carrying out to ensure sustainable societal development including gender equality and green energy among others.
In hindsight, it is possible for financial organizations to use the power of capital markets and investments to foster, encourage and support green investments.
Stanbic for instance helped deliver East Africa’s first sustainable corporate bond, the Acorn Green Bond that provided climate-friendly accommodation for more than 5000 students.