“We are not a commercial bank; we take the direct approach with our clients, analysing their requirements and needs and offer personalised solutions,” says Sasfin assistant GM business finance, Maurice van Bergen.
“Personalised service is hard to come by these days in large commercial banks as there is little dedication to the small to medium businesses, which can be very frustrating for the client.” “We cater for small to medium- sized companies, where we can add value to the clients’ require-ments, helping them to grow and move forward,” he adds.
Sasfin offers a number of finan-cial solutions to its clients, namely plant and machinery finance, equipment finance, trade finance, disclosed debtor finance and invoice discounting.
Plant-and-machinery finance allows the client to acquire capital equipment with little initial cash outlay to negotiate the best prices with the supplier without affecting the cash flow.
“Depending on the value and the life expectancy, we allow clients to invest in new or used machinery; this is another aspect that sets us apart from commercial banks, as we do not restrict our clients to only buying new machinery,” says Van Bergen.
Equipment finance gives clients the financial backing to rent equipment.
“Many companies prefer to rent equipment as it gives them the opportunity to upgrade equipment regularly; the operating expense is tax deductible, it does not affect the company’s existing credit lines and it does not affect the company’s working capital,” explains Van Bergen.
Trade finance, meanwhile, looks at imports and exports.
“If a company specialises in imports we offer a financial solution to make this feasible.” Trade financing provides fin- ance on a short-term basis, assist-ing growing businesses to finance inventory, raw materials and other purchases.
“It gives our clients the ability to negotiate with suppliers and simplify foreign purchases,” says Van Bergen. In terms of import finance, the company offers letters of credit, confirmation of orders, payment to suppliers, and forward-exchange contracts.
For export finance, the com-pany offers discounting of letters of credit, provision of pre- and post-shipment finance and extended terms to foreign buyers.
Sasfin ensures that the funding matches the client’s operating cycle and will therefore grant terms up to 180 days from date of shipment.
Aimed at companies that sell on credit terms, disclosed debtor finance is working capital finance, which is linked to a professional credit-management and debtor-administration service.
In order to qualify for this type of facility, a company should have a minimum turnover of R150 000 a month and its debtors should be creditworthy businesses.
“We offer this service to ensure that companies have the potential to grow while they wait for clients to pay up; it also allows the com-pany to offer its customers better credit terms.
“Under this financing, we offer businesses credit control, debtor management and debt-collection functions,” explains Van Bergen. Sasfin is responsible for its clients’ debtor finance admini-stration as well. It will send out the statements and collect the money, leaving the client free to manage and grow its company.
Sasfin offers up to 75% of the invoice value, with the rest being accessible after the money has been collected.
Invoice dis-counting improves cash flow by converting trade debtors into cash. It also offers a flexible funding line against the security of debtors’ books and provides addi-tional working capital for growth.
There are two forms of invoice discounting that the client can choose from – disclosed invoice discounting or confidential invoice discounting. In terms of disclosed invoice discounting, Sasfin is not involved in administration; the client arranges the collection of the money and the debtor pays into a dedicated bank account controlled by Sasfin.
Confidential invoice discount-ing, meanwhile, involves the same process except that the client’s customer is not aware of Sasfin’s involvement.
The bank also allows com-panies to structure the financing on a totally confidential basis, if required, and allows the client to remain in control of the debtors’ ledger.
Sasfin thus has to put full reliance on the client to retrieve the money and usually gives this option to well-established, financially-secure businesses.
“We offer a range of product solutions for our clients, which would not necessarily be available in the same format from commercial banks.
“There is nothing new about our services; it is, however, the manner in which we offer them that makes them different.
“Many companies have the potential and the drive to grow and succeed but lack the financial backing, which is where we come in.
“Through offering structured financial services that have been built around each company’s needs, we are creating unique solutions for each business.
“We provide finance for companies, greater than may have been expected from commercial banks,” Van Bergen concludes.
Sasfin Bank also provides corporate advisory services and private equity investment; stockbroking, asset management and local and international fund management; financial planning and investment advice, short- term insurance and assurance broking; and local and inter-national freight forwarding and customs clearing.