A Bahamian financial services provider yesterday said it will re-start consumer lending to private sector employees this week.
Laquel Miller, Simplified Lending’s chief operating officer, said in a statement: “We at Simplified Lending believe that one of the most powerful ways to restart, re-boost and re-energise the economy is to inject more money flowing through it.
“The economy functions like the heart – the greater the circulation, the more efficient the output. Recognising that, we at Simplified Lending have taken the bold step to be among the first to restart consumer lending with very careful guidelines in place, but getting things moving and helping to build consumer spend and consumer confidence.”
Simplified Lending said most banks and other lending institutions have either cut or severely limited consumer lending, including even those facilities that are supported by salary or payroll deduction, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It added that with tourism at the start of a slow, tepid recovery, and some estimates pegging the national unemployment rate at 40 percent in certain sectors, the Bahamian economy has effectively stalled.
While many professional offices have reopened, the financial services provider said borrowing to buy a car, new furniture or appliances has been a particular challenge.
Ms Miller said Simplified Lending saw an opportunity to fill this credit void and pump more money into the economy, boosting sales for retail companies.
“We always strive to be leaders in what we do,” she added. “In collaboration with our group risk management team, we are able to find solutions to help people in a responsible lending manner.
“Based on our research, we are also cautiously optimistic that we will experience a gradual economic rebound based on our research. Our lending will be targeted at first and expand as conditions allow.”
Founded less than two years ago with staff drawn from international and local banks, Simplified Lending has grown from a mortgage brokerage to a lender itself. It was one of the firms that administered the Small Business Recovery Assistance programme in conjunction with the Small Business Development Centre.
“We believe that people need help now,” said Ms Miller. “Given the uncertainty, we want to be there for our clients and community in the good and bad times.”
Simplified Lending was founded by Robert Pantry who spent more than two decades in commercial lending. Its head office is in Caves, West Bay Street, Nassau, with staff members positioned throughout The Bahamas.