fbpx US$ 20 Million FinDev Canada Loan to JMMB Bank Set to

US$ 20 Million FinDev Canada Loan to JMMB Bank Set to Increase Funding for Jamaican SMEs to Facilitate Growth and Job Creation 

19 January 2022

FinDev Canada recently announced a US$ 20 million loan to JMMB Bank (Jamaica) Limited to support Jamaica’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking capital to assist them in the creation and retention of jobs and to scale their businesses.

The US$20-million loan is repayable in 5 years. The rate at which JMMB Bank on-lends the funds will be determined by the risk profile of individual borrowers, however the Bank will lend in line with its competitive and affordable positioning in the market.

Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the national economy, providing over one million jobs, about 80% of employment in the country. Yet, some 40% of firms in Jamaica consider access to financing to be a major constraint and only an estimated 27% of businesses have a loan or line of credit from a financial institution, well below averages for other Latin American and Caribbean economies.

 “This funding to JMMB Bank, our first transaction in the Caribbean, should give a significant boost to Jamaican SMEs looking for capital to expand operations, and retain or create local jobs,” said Paulo Martelli, VP and Chief Investments Officer of FinDev Canada. “This loan represents another example of our COVID recovery strategy to provide capital resources to financial institutions so that they can directly fund businesses within the markets they know best.”

Local Economic Development
The loan will enable JMMB Bank to increase its financing to SMEs, contributing to growth and job creation in Jamaica. This is seen as particularly beneficial given that overall employment in Jamaica has declined by at least five percent since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. In this context, JMMB is well-positioned to respond as it has increased its support to SMEs by creating SME Resource Centres in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and expanding its suite of financial solutions and processes to better serve SME clients in achieving their business objectives. 

Jerome Smalling, CEO of JMMB Bank, shared “This partnership underscores our commitment to assist SMEs to scale and grow their businesses by providing holistic solutions to support them throughout their business life cycle, as we recognize that access to affordable financial solutions play a key role in business operation and growth, which will augur well for the country’s development.”  Further noting that this move is in line with the Group’s strategy to further add value to SMEs and builds on previous agreements with international partners, such as the IDB Invest, to bolster funding to SMEs. 
Women’s economic empowerment
At least 30% of the funds will be earmarked for women-owned or led SMEs (WSMEs), which are important contributors to the country’s gross domestic product and job creation. A study commissioned by the Development Bank of Jamaica in 2019 found that Jamaica’s micro and small business sector was dominated by women, and that microbusinesses were largely started by women educated to high-school level.

In keeping with its continued commitment to specially support WSMEs, the Bank signed last year (2021) an agreement with the IDB that would see JMMB Bank off-lending 20% of the funds, or US$7 million loan, to back small businesses led by women. Smalling noted this agreement complements another gender-based lending initiative dubbed ‘Her Wealth,’ created by JMMB Group in 2017; with the optic to leverage the huge potential market opportunity for growth of this market segment, by catering to the unique financial needs of women and filling the gaps perceived in the financial sector.” Currently, JMMB Bank has approximately 34% women-owned SMEs as part of its loan portfolio. 

JMMB Bank is also dedicated to empowering women in its workforce and providing equal opportunities to all employees. As evidence of this, the subsidiary has a strong representation of women across the organization, with 33% at the board level, 15% at management, and 69% at the team level. 
This loan to JMMB Bank is eligible to be qualified in the 2X Challenge, an initiative to increase capital directed at investments that contribute to women’s economic empowerment.

This transaction supports FinDev Canada’s contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular to Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8).

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