The Mongolian Banking and Finance Academy (BFA) today launched a new online training series, teaching best practices for lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – SME Financing. The course will teach loan officers in commercial banks the practical skills required to address the unique challenges of lending to SMEs.
The Banking and Finance Academy is a training organisation owned by several Mongolian banks and dedicated to building skills in the financial sector. Since the SME Financing course is online, it can be more readily accessed by loan officers in rural areas that are otherwise difficult to reach due to the country‘s low population density.
This initiative is part of the Support to SME Development in Mongolia – a project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The project works to support small businesses in Mongolia by providing advice directly to Mongolian entrepreneurs, thereby improving the business environment and strengthening the organisations that support businesses. Increasing access to finance by SMEs is a vital part of this effort.
“Qualified loan officers are the foundation of access to finance,” explained Matthias Reusing, First Secretary of the EU Delegation to Mongolia. “This is a central issue, and an especially challenging one for SME development in rural areas.”
Participants who successfully pass the SME Financing course will receive a certificate in SME lending. According to BFA, there are over 1,000 loan officers currently practising in the country. Those who prefer more traditional training methods will be able to take a classroom-based course.
BFA’s teaching method is unique, in that it uses Mongolian trainers to teach international best practices. “We feel that our approach is an effective blend of local knowledge and international standards,” said Nergui Sandagjav, CEO of BFA. “This means that we are able to maximise the impact by offering high quality training at a locally-affordable price.”
Explained Matthieu Le Blan, the new Head of the EBRD’s Resident Office in Mongolia: “Improving access to finance in Mongolia will be important for the diversification of the economy. This is one of the central challenges the country will face in the future.”