Marketing: The Crucial Success Factor for Pakistan’s Credit Guarantee Scheme
Despite their significant contribution to GDP and employment, SMEs face constraints in accessing finance in Pakistan.
To motivate banks to lend to SMEs, the State Bank of Pakistan introduced a “Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Rural Enterprises” in 2010. However, the response to the scheme was initially somewhat muted, which may arguably have been due to factors like the design of the offer, its governance structure, or the reluctance of financial institutions to engage with SMEs in general and the credit guarantee scheme in particular—or a combination thereof. Nevertheless, in this paper, we confine our focus to a discussion of how inadequate marketing diluted the scheme’s impact. Specifically, several commercial banks could not tailor elements of their marketing mix—including people, products, processes, and promotions—to take full advantage of the scheme. That said, periodic revisions of the scheme helped to address some of its shortcomings, while the expectation is that other indicators will improve due to the recent changes in the scheme’s parameters. The key finding is that policy makers can maximize the impact of a credit guarantee scheme by paying attention to the marketing mix, which sets up participating financial institutions for success (or failure) during the implementation phase. In addition, the scheme’s structure should be a long-term intervention and its intended duration should be clear at the outset so that the participating financial institutions are motivated to design and roll out specialized products that tap the full potential of credit guarantees. Furthermore, the scheme’s originators should be prepared to develop the entire ecosystem, which may include some initial hand holding of SMEs.