In a disclosure, IFC said the first-of-its-kind program will respond to the large unmet demand for financial services for women in Bangladesh, particularly women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The SME-focused BRAC Bank was started in 2001 and is the second largest private lender in the SME segment in Bangladesh. It operates through 181 conventional banking branches, 81 cash deposit machines (CDMs) and 448 SME Units across the country. As of December 31, 2016, the bank had total assets of $3.4 billion.
BRAC Enterprises holds a 44.56 per cent stake in the bank while institutions and general public hold 53.07 per cent. The rest of the shareholding is held by mutual funds and non-resident Bangladeshis.
For IFC, the investment unit of World Bank, this will be the fourth investment in the region this month, Last week, it proposed to invest up to $6 million as a long-term debt in Ananta Apparels Ltd. Prior to that, IFC committed to provide a loan of up to $50 million to Dhaka-headquartered Prime Bank Ltd and $40 million to Bank Asia Ltd.