SME banking division of BRAC Bank Limited
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Advanced expansion of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can help to cut poverty to a satisfactory level by eliminating various prejudices against labor intensive industry and creating jobs for the skilled manpower in the SME sector. However, the access to financing is still recognized as the leading obstacle to SME growth in Bangladesh, alike most other developing and under-developed countries. Small and medium entrepreneurship have a tremendous potential in empowering potential entrepreneurs and transforming society. To target this sector with huge potentiality BRAC Bank Ltd introduced SME Banking Division in 2001. Being the fastest growing bank of the country currently BRAC Bank is operating all over the country having 157 Branches and Krishi Branches, 22 SME Sales and Service Centers, 300+ ATMs, 405 SME Unit offices. This fastest growing bank works on 3P- People, Planet and Profit; ensures sustainable growth and largely focuses on SME financing sector. BRAC Bank SME division was set up to capture “Missing Middle” and to create socio-economic impact in the country. Within 11 years of establishing it has proved its success through becoming country’s largest SME finance provider and 4th large SME provider in the world in terms of lending volume. For the inheriting business risk, SME sector is facing several constrains in terms of growth. Policy level complexity, financial constraints, legal bindings and industry structure are hindering financial institutions to support SME sector. Lack of SME supporters, poor infrastructure of the country, lack of entrepreneur’s skills, lender-borrower gap, huge market competitions are the major drawbacks for both borrowers and lenders. Again SME sector has tremendously contributed in the economy. Today it has been considered as the engine of country’s economy. Being country’s largest SME provider, BRAC Bank is facing several challenges which are identified in analytical part of the report. Business risk, high interest rate, high defaulter rate, certain government policy change etc are the major challenges facing by BRAC Bank. At the same time BRAC Bank has a large number of defaulters. Even though strict loan approval system is maintained, due to some unavoidable reason “bad-losses” sometimes occur. In order to reduce credit risk BRAC Bank follows consistent monitoring system upon borrower’s activities. Again if someone turns in to defaulter special wing called SAM works to enforce law. The recommendation part of the report tried to find out some steps could be initiated by BRAC Bank in order to overcome existing weakness. Lowering interest rate, more effective loan approval system, strong monitoring activities, and entrepreneurs meeting arrangement could improve BRAC bank’s performance. Analysis of the Loan Repayment Behavior of the borrowers gives an idea about the current market vibe of SME banking.