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Lasco Financial taps popular iCool to push loans

Published:Thursday | June 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
Karlene Penant of Duhaney Park, Kingston (at centre) inspects her iCool Vendor Barrel on May 25, 2016 after securing a vendor loan from Fasco Financial Services. She is flanked by lLasco representatives, Jervis Neita and Shoyagay Edwards.

Lasco Financial Services is hoping to increase it loan book through a special loan programme for vendors of the iCool beverage line produced and distributed by its sister companies.

The iCool Vendor Barrel Loan for micro businesses is funded from a $100-million credit line. Vendors may borrow up to $50,000, which they can take in the form of cash, a combination of cash and Lasco products, including iCool, or the total loan amount in products.

The loan is priced at 26 per cent per annum and repayable in 26 months, CEO of Lasco Financial Jacinth Hall-Tracey told the Financial Gleaner.

Hall-Tracey said the programme is expected to yield around 20 new clients for her company in the initial stage, but plans to go more aggressively after additional business once the early programme proves sustainable.

"Our projection is 20. Because it's a start-up loan, we have to monitor them to see the success of the opportunity and then push it," she said.

The loan programme started towards the end of May.

Hall-Tracey said vendors in Linstead and Kingston are the immediate targets but that, with time, the initiative will stretch islandwide.

Lasco Financial is targeting small business owners with established locations and who have been in operation for over six months. The loan product is also geared towards vendors who want to grow their businesses, but need the capital injection, the company said.

"As they make their profit, they would have to buy back stock," Hall-Tracey said.

Lasco Financial is banking on the popularity of the iCool drink and the Lasco brand to increase loan disbursements. Since Lasco Manufacturing Limited introduced the beverage, it has served to drive up sales for the beverage maker. The drink has also buttressed the bottom line of seller, Lasco Distributor Limited.

Last September, Lasco Financial launched its microfinancing arm that was accredited by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and approved for a credit line of $100 million for lending to micro and small businesses.

The DBJ credit facility allows Lasco Financial to lend a maximum of $500,000 to micro businesses.

To sweeten the iCool Vendor Barrel deal, Lasco Financial will give the iCool vendors a barrel in which to store the products, along with a branded apron, cap and a T-shirt.

Up to this week, just one vendor had taken up the loan. Karlene Pennant of Duhaney Park, Kingston, who initially only sold pastries, is now looking at pricing a muffin and iCool drink as a combo menu item to push her sales.