Please tell us about your career background:
After my internship at ANZ Grindlays Bank in 1999, I joined BRAC as Management Trainee. Later in the year, I moved to BRAC Bank. I was among the first employees of the bank and was privileged to experience the formation of a bank, with a unique vision and concept of serving the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Later, I worked in various roles including Corporate Relationship Manager, Head of Marketing and Product Development and Head of Cards before joining IDLC Finance Limited as the Head of SME in 2008.'Do things in a smart way that maximises your contribution towards your profession. Try to be creative; innovative ideas make all the difference. Add new skills to the trait of existing ones, along with upgrading training and development. Lots of teamwork, gain profound and be informed'
Can you share IDLC’s 2012/2013 objective – ‘aggressively grow SME portfolio’?
When I joined IDLC in 2008, we had a SME asset portfolio of Tk700mn. This figure now stands at Tk14bn. For the last 3 years, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) has been 57%. Currently, we are growing at approximately 45% with SME loan disbursement of Tk12bn a year. We have around 6,500 customers at present with an average acquisition of 350 customers a month, and planing on getting to around 1,000 a month by 2015. Right now, IDLC has the best SME assets in terms of quality among all banks & financial institutions.
Your perception on SME growth in Bangladesh:
SME market is the most potential of all with approximately 90% of the Bangladeshi enterprises falling in this category. The market is the most underserved and have ample ‘white spaces’ to be filled. Being creative, growth hungry and adaptable, SMEs of Bangladesh are sure to do well.
Tell us about the issues/problems that SME face.
The biggest problem of SMEs in Bangladesh is access to finance. Inadequate infrastructure and energy crisis comes next. Bureaucracy and lack of political stability aggravate the situation further.
Access to finance for SME business:
Being small has certain disadvantages in terms of capacity, resources, infrastructure and managerial capability. Many bankers are yet to find SMEs as bankable while others are not equiped with right people, process and technology to serve them. Thus, a gap remains resulting in demand-supply mismatch. A unique and SME-friendly financing model is required to identify the financing needs for serving them effectively to reach equilibrium.
Role of financial institutions/banks in helping SMEs’ growth flourish:
Financial institutions are concentrating on this market as corporate financing opportunities are getting limited due to severe competition. Many banks are spreading their network to distant areas in catering the needs of the SMEs. If banks are more proactive in understanding, identifying and delivering the diverse financial requirements of SMEs, then growth of SMEs will flourish.
Any difference in the marketing approach of financial institutions and regular products/ service organisations?
This is an era marked by the power of “customers”. Today, customers are more empowered and connected to decide the fate of a product or an organisation. For any business to succeed, it is imperative to design and deliver their products or services in a way that caters the needs of the customers in the most convenient and cost-effective way. This holds valid irrespective of the industry you operate in.
Any advice or preparations SMEs should take before applying for loan?
Have a business plan, even if it’s an informal one. Maintain books of accounts in an orderly manner. Keep all legal and other relevant business documents up-to-date. All these increase the probability of getting the SME loan sanctioned.
Tell us about your interests and hobbies, family:
Taking photographs, and reading books and magazines are my passions. Everyday, I try to read something new. I am quite a gourmet and my wife’s amazing cooking ability complements that! I love spending time with my family.
Something that your friends do not know about you:
I have a keen interest in angling (a method of fishing). One of my dreams is when I retire, I will spend more time angling. I also love to play console games and often play cricket with neighbouring youngsters!
What is your favourite qoute?
“If the internal rate of change in an organisation is slower than the external rate of change, the end is at sight. The only question remains is – when?”
What’s next in your career?
I would like to see IDLC’s SME business reach a different level altogether, so that it is globally recognised, followed and practised. As a professional, my ultimate aim would remain to lead an exciting and dynamic organisation that would carry the dreams and aspirations of its stakeholders in the most befitting manner.
I’m sure whatever I do it will have social context.