Successive governments have not embraced the opportunities the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) could offer entrepreneurs that seek funding, BDB Managing Director Dave Smith said recently.
He explained that the bank is now focused on development and impact instead of profit.
Smith, who was a speaker at the Exuma Business Outlook last week, said the BDB, in the past, had been challenged by a large non-performing loan portfolio.
“The bank has been bit lethargic in fulfilling its obligations to collect the funds,” he said.
Now, he said, the bank has changed its operating model to meet the needs of the changing economic landscape, and is focused on funding projects that align with the country’s sustainable development goals.
Instead of focusing on four enterprise areas, Smith said the bank is now focused on inclusion, gender equity, and the elimination of poverty.
“That is our driving force now… that is our focus,” he said.
“So we too are changing to keep pace and be relevant and to service your needs, and the needs of the larger archipelago.”
He added that the BDB is interested in partnering with the activities of entrepreneurs.
The bank is part of the funding arm of the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
“We’re looking at creative ways to reduce the cost of funding, so more people can borrow from the bank,” Smith said.
Despite the move away from a singular focus on profits, Smith said the BDB and its employers have a fiduciary responsibility to the Bank, while its borrowers have a responsibility to repay their loans.