Wed | Sep 23, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Implement financial strategies to weather COVID-19, says banker

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2020 | 12:10 AM

Ryan Parkes, chief of business banking and public-sector engagement at JN Bank, has recommended that businesses rationalise their operations and implement strategies to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parkes made the suggestion while addressing the JN Rewards training webinar, which was held recently under the theme ‘Moving Forward Together’.

“You may want to delay major capital expenditure (CAPEX) expansion projects, where possible, at this time. If these are not essential to your overall survival, you may want to consider postponing some of these expansion projects to maximise the cash flow available to the business at this time,” he advised, noting that there was some amount of uncertainty about the coronavirus, as it is unknown when it will be contained.

In addition, he stated that some businesses may need to access working capital financing, where needed, and this is available through JN Bank. He cited other strategies to implement, including preserving the liquidity or cash flow of the business as much as possible.

Maximise Moratoriums

“Those steps would be financially prudent, to maximise on loan moratorium offers from financial institutions, such as JN Bank, which has been offering moratoriums for up to a year and payment holidays,” he said.

The chief of business banking and public-sector engagement recommended that businesses should rationalise their operations to eliminate certain cost structures and expenses.

“Now is a good time to look at your cost structure to see where you can minimise certain expenses. It is very important that as the dollar continues to devalue, as we have seen, that you consider certain FX hedging solutions to mitigate against FX losses,” he advised, noting that JN Bank has put a specific product on the market to address this risk.

“Businesses should manage their receivables so that credit is not extended for excessively long periods of time, and to improve the cash intake of the business,” Parkes added.

He also recommended the restructuring of existing loans where necessary. This, he stated, includes extending the tenure and maturity date and, where possible, benefit from interest rate reductions.

Aditi Dhiman, executive, JN Group Loyalty Programmes, who also addressed the webinar, said the virtual session was aimed to equip businesses for beyond COVID-19 and as such, offered training in the areas of small business financing, business banking, customer service, and the JN Rewards process.

She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of people’s lives and even how business is conducted; hence, many businesses are forced to adapt to a digital or remote way of doing business, which, she maintained, has drastically altered the customer experience.

“To preserve the quality of your customer experience to your clients, you need to be creative in bridging the gap; and being more human across the virtual channels,” she advised.

Other speakers at the webinar were Kimberly Atkinson, communications and client services manager at JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) who spoke about the JNSBL’s solutions; Carlene Stair, head of customer experience, JN Bank, who gave tips about customer service and solutions; as well as Debbie-Ann Davis, partnership and loyalty manager, who outlined the JN Rewards process.