India's best bank for SMEs 2018: YES Bank
In a country like India that boasts millions of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), catering to their financial needs is critical, especially as SMEs contribute about 45% of India’s industrial output and employ as many as 42 million people.
Yes Bank has done the job exceptionally well. Its focus on areas such as women-owned enterprises, or small- and medium-scale enterprises in low-income states, and those in poor economic conditions, has ramped up over the years.
In the financial year 2016/17, the bank divided Rp187 billion ($2.9 billion) among SMEs, up from approximately Rp132 billion the year before.
The lender has also tied up with Overseas Private Investment Corp, the US government’s development finance institution, on a handful of occasions to further its strategy. In July 2017, Yes signed an agreement where Opic will provide $75 million in financing and a syndicated loan of up to $75 million that will be jointly arranged by Wells Fargo and Opic.
Of that, $50 million will be used to expand support to women-owned businesses and another $50 million for SME businesses in low-income Indian states.
That was the third transaction between Opic and Yes and followed a $265 million deal the previous year also to support SMEs.
But Yes has not stopped there. It has gone on to combine its focus on SMEs with its credentials in the area of CSR (Yes has long been a champion of green finance and financial inclusion) to make MSMEs sustainable. That project first kicked off in 2014/15; in the 2016/17 financial year, it impacted more than 2,000 MSMEs.
The bank, led by managing director and chief executive Rana Kapoor, also took MSMEs under its wing when it came to educating them on the landmark goods and services tax (GST) rolled out in 2017. Yes launched a programme to mentor smaller businesses to prepare and have the technology in place to tackle GST.
The scheme was popular both online and on the ground. Yes managed to reach as many as 3.9 million MSMEs using social media between July 2 and October 30, and saw 450,000 MSMEs access its online portal on GST. More than 10,000 MSMEs have attended Yes-organized events around GST.
This approach has served India’s fifth-largest private sector bank well, making it the deserving winner of Asiamoney’s best bank for SMEs in the country.