International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women have announced a syndicated senior loan of $110 million to An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBANK) to boost lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The loan is part of an up to $150-million financing package being arranged by IFC for the bank.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative is a campaign to foster greater shared economy by providing 10,000 underserved women around the world with a business and management education.
At least one-third of the funding, or $45 million, will be used to support women-owned enterprises, IFC said in a statement. With this funding, ABBANK aims to triple its SME portfolio and quadruple the size of its lending to women-owned SMEs over a five-year period.
DEALSTREETASIA had reported about IFC considering extending the loan package to ABBANK in August this year.
“This project will promote women-owned SMEs as a viable business opportunity when provided with tailored products, appropriate offerings, and right marketing,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR. “It will create a momentum for other lenders in Vietnam to expand their product offerings in this segment of the market. Subsequently, it will support the growth of women-owned SMEs, which will in turn create jobs and drive wage growth.”
Out of the $150 million total financing, IFC is contributing $40 million from its own account. Another $70 million will come from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited and Maybank International Ltd, while the rest $40 million will be arranged from two international lenders.
In Vietnam, only 30 percent of the registered SMEs have access to formal financial services. According to an IFC study, it is even more difficult for women-owned SMEs to obtain bank loans, with an estimated credit gap of $1.2 billion per annum.
“The much-needed syndicated funding from IFC and partner banks will help strengthen ABBANK’s SME and women-owned SME portfolios, thus positioning the bank to become one of the leaders in this segment,” said an ABBANK representative.
IFC has a 10 per cent stake in ABBANK since 2013 and has helped strengthen its corporate governance and build up its SME banking capacity over the past five years.