The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) yesterday said it has approved more than $3m in COVID-19 financing for small businesses as it prepares to open its doors to the public on June 8.
The state-owned institution, in a statement, disclosed that it has provided $2.865m worth of loans and $181,077 in grant financing to micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) under the government’s Business Continuity Loan initiative.
Besides helping MSMEs remain in business and enabling them to meet staff payroll, the BDB added that it has spent 20 months improving operations and changing its internal culture. It said non-performing, or non-accrual, loans have been slashed from 76 percent to 24 percent of its portfolio as it focused on restructuring and “mopping up” legacy challenges.
This exercise focused on its standard operating procedures, human capital and information technology platform. Dave Smith, pictured, the Bahamas Development Bank’s managing director, said the institution had focused on a “balanced scorecard approach” that aligns decision-making with financing, customers and internal processes.
As a result, the BDB believes it has improved operational efficiency, corporate governance structures, risk management, accountability and service as it moves to encourage innovation and structural transformation in key areas of the Bahamian economy.
In addition to projects in renewable energy, beekeeping, poultry and small ruminants, the BDB is also seeking to access financing, technical support and grants from agencies such as European Investment Bank (EIB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Caribbean Development Export Agency (CEDA) and Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute to reduce its annual subsidy from the government.
To gain such access, though, the BDB said its underfunding or negative capital position must be addressed. It added that it either has, or is seeking, Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Technical Institute (BTVI) and The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC). A key goal is to generate cost savings by consolidating activities.