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CariCRIS extends ratings facility to SMEs
It’s official. The Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services Limited (CariCris) has expanded its ratings facility to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), ensuring that they now have easy access to funding. The project has a total budget of US$215,000 and four banks have agreed to be part of the project: Republic Bank Limited, Scotiabank, Intercommercial Bank Limited and First Citizens.
At a signing ceremony yesterday, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group and CariCris signed a technical co-operation project agreement at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce headquarters, Westmoorings.
“The signing signifies a recognition of the issue which we have in the region which is that we need to ensure that our SMEs have access to credit and financing. This credit rating created by CariCris is going to be able to create a mechanism so that SMEs can be judged and therefore their credit assessment can be made and the banks should hoepfully feel more comfortable about being able to lend to the SMEs,” said IDB country representative in T&T Michelle Cross Fenty.
CariCRIS CEO Wayne Dass said the credit rating agency would identify “gaps” in the marketplace and make attempts to address those gaps. “As a Caribbean rating agency we are about capital market development. We see improvement in access to finance by SMEs as an area which definitely needs attention.
“If you look at the statistics you would see lending to businesses has been on the decline, all of 2013 it has been declining. I think this SME rating tool as an innovative tool will help towards increasing the level of lending to businesses,” he said. Dass said patterns showed lending steered toward individuals and not for business purposes, and that businesses generate employment so “it is therefeore critical to attend to that problem.”
CariCRIS ratings allow SMEs to:
• access bank financing
• negotiate with a supplier
• secure credit terms
• strengthen a tender or bid