In a bid to enhance access to credit facilities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) customers, Access Bank Plc said on Monday it gave out N37 billion as loans to small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs in 2018.
The bank also gave out various credit facilities totaling N22 billion to MSMEs in 2017.
The Access Bank ‘s Head of Emerging Business, Ayodele Olojede, who disclosed this at a media parley in Lagos, said the 68% increase in the amount given out to MSMEs was due to the new innovative approach the bank developed to enhance access to credit facilities for its MSME customers.
Olojede said: “In the last three years, we have incrementally supported SMEs. In 2018 alone, we granted up to N37 billion in new loans to our 11,000 SME customers, up from N22 billion granted to 7,000 SME customers in 2017. This even won us awards both locally and internationally.
“With that innovative method that we introduced, even our customers who do not even have business names were able to access loans because what we do is that we worked with our partner lawyers to be able to help them to get their businesses registered and once that is done, they are able to get a loan from the bank and you know from the numbers that I highlighted earlier on as the volume of loans that we have granted to SMEs, 30% of that amount was used to support women through our flagship power initiative.”
She said the bank would in the fourth quarter of this year launch a digital portal to ease the process of loan applications by MSMEs.
Olojede disclosed that as far as MSMEs are concerned, Access Bank is an ecosystem that provides everything they required to thrive, including mentoring, consultancy services and credit facilities.
The Access Bank official said the bank’s loan portfolio is collateral-free for Nigerians, stressing that it is the only lender currently using the National Collateral Registry (NCR) in support of the MSMEs.