SME Bank posts profit despite difficult pandemic-hit year

The bank launched SRP 2.0 in March 2021 where the targeted nancing relief has been extended until September


SMALL Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Bhd (SME Bank) has recorded a profit before tax of RM134.8 million in 2020, 37% lower compared to the RM213.9 million profit it made in 2019 as the SME business community braced the Covid-19 pandemic headwinds.

SME Bank chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff said despite the challenges, SME Bank has managed to deliver on its financial targets, having approved RM2.8 billion of financing to 2,030 SMEs last year.

“SME Bank started 2020 on a positive momentum as the bank advanced our transformation into a digital and customer-centric development finance institution (DFI),” he stated in a statement yesterday.

Out of the total financing approved, 50.4% was for the small enterprises, while 36.6% for medium-sized enterprises, Nazir said.

“The top three sectors that received the approval were wholesale, retail trade and restaurants and hotels at 26.7%, construction at 17.3% and manufacturing at 16.8%,” he added.

SME Bank group president and CEO Aria Putera Ismail said as the DFI is expected to continue supporting SMEs, the bank must ensure the survivability and sustainability of the business group.

“SME Bank has been proactive, swiftly offering relief measures to its customers to tide them through unprecedented financial challenges.

“Apart from the automatic moratorium assistance announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), SME Bank was the earliest in introducing the targeted moratorium extension under SME Relief Programme (SRP) which has benefitted 3,084 eligible SME Bank customers with the total financing value of RM4.1 billion.

“SME Bank had also launched the SRP 2.0 in March 2021 where the targeted financing relief has been extended until September 2021, focusing on critical and most impacted sectors,” he said

Aria Putera said additional assistance in the form of deferment and discounts were also given to the tenants of SME Bank’s Entrepreneur Premises Complex (EPC), benefitting 251 SMEs at 373 EPC lots who had enjoyed a six-month rental waiver between April and September 2020 and a further 50% discount on rentals between October and December 2020.

This discount was extended until March 2021. From April 2020 to March 2021, the waiver and discounts we gave out to all tenants amounted to RM6.1 million.

“These tenants were also given a free online coaching programme, namely SME Bank Business Strategic Series by our subsidiary, Centre for Entrepreneur Development and Research Sdn Bhd, to equip them with the right knowledge, skills and attitude in managing their operations more effectively,” he said.

The bank also offered various relief assistance under the government’s stimulus packages, as well as the economic assistance administered by the central bank.

“Under the Prihatin stimulus package, SME Bank had approved financing amounting to RM4.69 billion and another RM305.5 million under Penjana (Short-term Economic Recovery Plan). As for 2021’s Pemerkasa (Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy) initiative, the bank had approved a total of RM200 million.

“In addition, SME Bank was also involved in BNM’s Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility and HighTech Facility-National Investment Aspirations initiatives,” he said.