This Bank Never Forgets to Extend a Helping Hand to SMEs

"An SME can avail our assistance under the buyer's credit program, where we provide them credits for importing goods from India"

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The Export-Import Bank of India or the Exim Bank may not be serving the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) directly but every time, they need to venture overseas – by market expansion or capacity expansion, it extends a helping hand.

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In an exclusive conversation with Entrepreneur, Debasish Mallick, Deputy Managing Director, Exim Bank, shares about its agnostic support to the SMEs, its effort towards digitization and various other initiatives.

How is the Exim Bank of India extending its support to the SMEs?

The bank is focused on supporting the industrial units, which are exporting or planning to do so. This also includes a range of activities like capacity expansion, upgradation of plants and improvization of the product to make them export ready. Moreover, it also helps companies which are either looking to set up or acquiring any overseas unit. For the last few years, it has been very active in the SME space. With the present industrial and the NPA scenario, we have been assisting industrial units including MSMEs for activities like upgradation, capacity expansion, etc. Most of the SMEs which have been assisted by us are in the engineering space, especially in the auto ancillary segment.

What are the criteria to avail these services?

We are agnostic, in terms of sector, scale or country (except certain countries which are under sanctions). We don’t have any special scheme for the SMEs, as we have been set up as an apex bank for exports and overseas investment. We only look into companies which exports at least 10 per cent of the total production. Apart from the product, we also look at the company’s performances and default records.

And how can they avail the credit schemes?

An SME can avail our assistance under the buyer’s credit program, where we provide them credits for importing goods from India. So for example, if a UK-based company is willing to order from an Indian company provided that they arrange the finances, in such cases, we willingly provide support. How does the SME sector look, in terms of loans disbursement? For the last 2-3 years, the industrial scenario has not been very good. With clamping down of NPAs, banks became extremely selective and companies became very cautious.

What steps have Exim taken towards digitization?

Digitization is a very continuous process. Our clients are mostly industrial organisations, so, we have to keep on upgrading our technology to help them keep updating their outstanding dues and account behaviour. Digitization of commercial banks is majorly in the payment space. Our payment space has significantly improved in the recent times, wherein the cheque-related payment services are now getting replaced by RTGS.

Can you walk us through EXIM bank’s market advisory services and grassroots initiatives?

With the market advisory scheme, the bank is trying to identify markets to export Indian products. Any particular company would like to avail our services and we try to tie them up with the buyers. In other words, we help the entrepreneurs develop their links overseas. With our grassroots initiatives, we are also trying to help – micro firms that are social yet commercial, trusts and co-operative societies or any institution which is engaged in procuring and marketing.

(This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here) 

Vanita D'souza

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Entrepreneur Staff

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.