SME-focused lender sees big growth in portfolioBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Esquire Financing Inc., which caters to the credit needs of small and medium enterprises, expects its loan portfolio to triple this year on the back of an anticipated rise in investment activities of SMEs and a favorable economic climate.
In a roundtable discussion with reporters, company president and chief executive officer Rajan Uttamchandani said the SME sector was seen to remain a key growth driver of the economy this year given a growing consumption demand.
Uttamchandani said Esquire was expecting its loan portfolio to hit P3 billion by the end of the year, nearly three times the year-ago level.
He said its loan portfolio stood at P1.25 billion benefiting about 2,000 borrowers, most of which were SMEs.
Esquire’s average amount of loan per borrower stands at P600,000, and it intends to increase this to P1 million by the end of the year. “Despite what is happening in Europe and the United States, the Philippine economy is performing well. Consumption continues to grow,” Uttamchandani said.
He said the firm was expected to sustain robust growth over the next few years. It plans to take advantage of the favorable economic condition in the Philippines by going public in two to three years, he added.
Esquire Financing is a Philippine unit of the Esquire Group, an international financial services firm that is also into foreign exchange trading, trade financing and money transfer.
Uttamchandani said the company was bullish about its growth prospects given the huge demand for SME credit and the relatively few suppliers of loans to this sector.
Banks cater mainly to the credit needs of large companies and Esquire does not see banks as competitors, he said.
He said the clients of Esquire were from various sectors, particularly those considered as sunshine industries.
Esquire gets most of its funds for lending from commercial banks, which provide Esquire wholesale loans.
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