Lending firm taps into “underserved” SMEs in Visayas

Aiming to reach “underserved” small and medium enterprises (SMEs) outside of Luzon, Esquire Finance, Inc. (EFI) expands to Cebu.

After building operational scale in Manila, EFI opens its doors to serve the “untapped” SMEs in the Visayas.

“We are the direct response to the needs of SMEs,” said EFI President & Chief Operating Officer Navin Uttamchandani.

Unlike banks who serve a low number of SMEs due to extensive collateral requirements, revenue-driven structure, and high minimum loan amounts; the firm offers non-collateral business loans which are tailor made for the client’s needs, goals, cash flows, capacity and financial position.

“There is a lot of growth that can happen to the SME segment if they are supported correctly and given the necessary guidance on how to grow their business,” Uttamchandani added.

He added that the leading problem SMEs face is the inadequate access to financing which is why EFI aims to “fill the void in the growth challenge of SMEs.”

“EFI is dedicated to building a distribution network that allows the one million businesses in the country to conveniently access our loan offerings,” Uttamchandani added.

Since its incorporation in 2011, the firm has served around 5,000 clients with loans ranging from P100,000 to P10 M. However, 95 percent of their clients are Luzon-based and opening an office in Cebu is seen as means to tap into the regional market.

“As the first provincial branch developed, we will focus on tapping the market of not just Cebu but also for the surrounding area,” said EFI Cebu Branch Service Officer Arjean Simbajon.

For September-October, the Cebu branch has already released a total of P4 M. Their Cebu office is at G/F 148 Residences Pelaez St., Kalubihan, Cebu City.

The company offers “flexible” interest rates but will not exceed to 3.5 percent per month.  The firm also has a delinquency ratio of less than two percent.