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Rebranding operation at Silva Investments

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Silva Investments Limited, the new parent company for Torpedo Micro Loan Financing, will restructure the company's portfolio of products in line with plans to rebrand the company to Silva Finance Limited.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, regional lead of Silva Investments Limited, Courson Robinson said the company has approved six products for the local market but has opted to continue Torpedo's 'no collateral, no guarantor' business model with a loan product now known as Quick Silva.

“The previous owner, Rohan Silvera, had a very good idea of whom to lend money to, but we want to make it easier for us to define each market so we have decided to cap Quick Silva at $40,000,” Robinson said.

Later this month, Silva Finance will introduce to the local market Silva Auto finance to assist customers with purchasing, repairs and insuring a motor vehicle; Silva Homes to finance deposits and closing costs for home ownership along with home improvement; and Silva Loans for basic personal emergencies.

Silva Finance is also looking to target micro and small businesses with its new products — Silva Line, aimed at improving cash flow or unexpected business expenses; Silva Umbrella, for the expansion of businesses; and Silva Payroll, to provide business owners with cash to pay their employees in the event of cash flow issues.

The company is willing to lend up to $2 million to customers under the Silva Homes loan product.

“After we did some due diligence, we recognised that Silva doesn't have defined products; so we are introducing three personal loans, three business loans and one no-collateral loan. With our intention to build the company, it made sense for us to rebrand and restructure the loans portfolio,” Robinson told the Business Observer.

Expectations are that the seven products will assist the microfinance company in improving revenues by 20 per cent over the next two years. Currently, Torpedo Loans is said to be ranked between fifth and sixth against the players in the microfinance industry. The company was, however, tight-lipped on how it will apply interest rates.

According to Robinson, the changes in Torpedo's loan portfolio will result in the rebranded microfinance company employing 10-12 middle management staff over the four months to manage operations.

Silva Finance has also reshuffled its management team to lead the changes within the organisation that is staffed with approximately 200 individuals.

Kadian Dunn, who previously held the post of director of operations, has been appointed credit manager; while Marcel Williams has been named operations manager. Williams held the post of general manager.

Silva Finance is also in the process of employing a chief executive officer. The founder, Rohan Silvera, will join the board to assist in Silva's transition.

Torpedo Loans opened its first branch in Spanish Town in 2008 and has since developed a 32-branch network. Silva Investment hopes to begin the rebranding process with Torpedo's headquarters in Portmore, St Catherine, before moving across the island.

As the company looks to redefine itself in the microfinance industry, Silva Finance is also looking to secure new office space in Kingston.

“It will be the Kingston 5 or 6 area and we hope to have it done over the next quarter,” Robinson said.

“Once we complete the rebranding and restructuring process in Jamaica, we hope to take on the Caribbean, specifically Guyana and Haiti, over the next two years,” he continued.

Silva Investment has a presence in the English-speaking Caribbean, West Africa, and North America and is looking to establish itself as an industry leader in the Americas.

The company, which is registered in St Lucia, has a diversified portfolio made up of assets across multiple sectors, including a real estate investment trust or with properties locally and internationally; a real estate development company; a debt collection agent already managing debt collection for some companies within Jamaica; a debt consolidation company operating in Jamaica, and a business development company operating in Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, Gambia, and Antigua and Barbuda.