Says it will broaden company’s reach in the sector
In its effort to improve the turnaround time for financing for its micro and small entrepreneurs; as well as to broaden its reach across the business sector, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) has modernised its website, jnsbl.com, which now allows persons to start their loan application online.
Philip Bernard, General Manager, anticipates that the new website will not only allow people to begin the application process while on the go; but, it will also position the 13-year-old company to reach a growing pool of younger and tech savvy persons, who are seeking financing to launch their own operations.
“Although internet access in homes is not as high as mobile telephone penetration; we are aware that a vast number of Jamaicans are accessing the internet via mobile gadgets,” Mr. Bernard explained, noting that the new JNSBL website is adaptable to mobile devices for persons on the go.
Mobile cellular subscription for Jamaica according to the World Bank was 97 per 100 people in 2012, while the Economic and Social Survey prepared by the Planning Institute of Jamaica placed mobile penetration at 98.4 percent. However, mobile broadband penetration is low according to the Broadband Commission for Digital Development at 1.6 per 100 people, although penetration is strengthening.
“We are aware that the landscape of micro and small business is changing, and while it is not as rapid as in developed countries, there is a growing tech industry, and our entrepreneurs are not only becoming younger, but they are moving away from traditional media to access information and financing,” he maintained.
He said it was, therefore, important for JNSBL to position itself in this new environment to reach an increasingly sophisticated market.
“As a loan company we also need to flatten the barriers to access, especially with the passing of the new Securities in Personal Interest Act, which means people can now use a range of assets as collateral,” Mr. Bernard said, underscoring that the new law was likely to energise entrepreneurs who had given up on doing business.
“This avenue allows our clients to start their application without having to call or visit us. And, once the application is submitted a field officer will contact the client, speak with them about the application in terms of the status and possibility for providing financing,” Mr. Bernard explained.
The loan company also plans that by year-end, clients will be able to complete the full application online. However, beyond initialising the application process, Mr. Bernard explained that the site also allows users to access information in a dynamic way, as they can browse the company’s social media pages while surfing the site.
“This way, a user will be able to interact with us, as they visit the site; and, we will also be able to respond to their queries and concerns in a timely manner,” the JNSBL General Manager stated.
In addition, users can also access the company’s crowd-funding platform at ISupportJamaica.com from the JNSBL homepage; as well as, information about all of its products, services and initiatives. And the loan company’s locations are mapped on the site, using Google maps, so that prospective clients can find a JNSBL branch, readily.
“In the end, our intention is to not only take the company into the 21st century; but, also to make financing available to a broader base of Jamaicans, which is what micro and small financing should be about,” Mr. Bernard affirmed.