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Access to loans to improve in region
The St Lucia-based Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) is collaborating with UK-headquartered Alexander Bain to pilot Streamlined, a new Internet-based, secure financial intermediation platform to improve accessibility to loans for businesses regionally. Through Alexander Bain, a management consultancy in the UK and the Caribbean, users will access an electronic network of banking associates across the region.
“Streamlined will facilitate prospective borrowers to electronically apply to a network of multiple commercial banks across the Caribbean. Banks will receive a copy of the professionally reviewed application forms and by mutual agreement introduce the applicant to the bank. Following lending, the Alexander Bain relationship then enables monitoring of the loan covenants increasing banks confidence to lend,” CAB said. The application forms will “typically (be reviewed) by an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants member”.
The key benefits of the Streamlined platform include reducing application time and the associated load on individual banks. “Lenders will access a significantly enhanced pool of potential borrowers and this initiative is projected to transact over US$16 million (in) loans over the next three years, targeting small and medium enterprises (SME) across the Caribbean,” CAB said. Streamlined is accessed through Alexander Bain’s access to finance portal www.scaleupcrowd.co-m.
“Streamlined is the result of a perfectly timed strategic partnership with Alexander Bain and Associates. I personally think that such collaborative approach is what is required across the Caribbean. “The landscape for the financial services sector globally is changing rapidly and Caribbean bankers within our membership aim to stay ahead of the curve,” said CAB chairman Carlton Barclay.
Rhonda Best, managing director of Alexander Bain added: “Streamlined is just the beginning. At Alexander Bain we are determined to create opportunities to improve access to debt and equity finance to enable businesses with growth potential. We are pleased that the Caribbean Association of Banks shared our strategic vision and look forward to working together.”