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Access Bank Secures US-DFC $280m Financing for On-lending to SMEs

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The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Access Bank have signed a commitment letter for $280 million to help address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

The US Embassy in a statement issued yesterday said the commitment letter was signed by DFC CEO, Scott Nathan and Access Bank Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna in Lagos yesterday.

 

Nathan said the DFC financing for Access Bank would provide needed liquidity given the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

He added that the intervention was expected to support at least 4,000 new SME loans in Nigeria.

 

Nathan noted that the loan proceeds would be on-lent across more than a dozen sectors in the Nigerian economy, with specific focus on women-owned SMEs, and on loans with longer tenors, which will provide more flexibility to borrowers.

 

He stated: “The loan will help address the financing gap for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and advance financial inclusion in Nigeria, including through the bank’s commitment to supporting women-owned and -led businesses.

 

“DFC’s investment in Access Bank demonstrates US support for private sector-led development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa.

 

“The $280 million loan from DFC will boost financial inclusion in Nigeria and empower women, bolstering the country’s economic growth.”

 

Also, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard said she looked forward to discussing with the public and private sectors how DFC funding could be leveraged to unleash the full economic potential of Nigeria through support to the country’s small and medium-sized businesses, financial sector, and climate change-focused enterprises.

 

On his part, Ogbonna said Access Bank was extremely pleased to announce the strategic partnership with DFC to support the multitude of businesses across Nigeria who stand to benefit from greater access to finance, especially in an environment that was in need of stronger economic diversification.

 

According to him, “We look forward to utilising the partnership with DFC in driving further economic expansion and inclusion in Nigeria, with a strong focus on non-oil sectors and women businesses.”

 

Also, Citi Bank Head of Emerging Markets Corporate Bank, Rizwan Shaikh his bank was delighted to have collaborated with Access Bank and DFC on the significant transaction, which would significantly boost SME corporate activity in Nigeria.

 

“This is yet another milestone stride for Citi as it executes a focused local-economy development strategy based on solid partnerships with key clients and development agencies,” he added.

 

Access Bank Bags Compliance Management System Standard Certification

 

Meanwhile, in recognition of its commitment to achieving sustainable business continuity, Access Bank has been conferred the MSECB Management System Certificate in accordance with the management system requirements in ISO 37301:2021.

 

This feat sees the institution become the first bank to achieve certification against this standard, according to a statement.

 

The certification which was issued upon review of the bank’s compliance management system contributes to SDGs 8, 16 and 11, affirming its commitment to promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, as well as making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

 

Commenting on the feat, Ogbonna, said, “This certification demonstrates that the bank’s board of directors and management are committed to meeting internationally accepted standards in our global banking operations, particularly in the areas of sustainability and compliance.

 

“We believe that attaining this global standard would serve to deepen the trust that our stakeholders have in our institution as we continue to innovatively bridge worlds and connect customers to opportunities.”

 

The certification, which is valid for a period of three years, is subject to satisfactory surveillance audits and would also be used as a management measuring tool. The tool would be used to evaluate Access Bank’s business continuity policies and operations, sustainability practices and management compliance systems.

 

Published in April 2021, the ISO 37301 Compliance Management System seeks to provide a certifiable global benchmark for compliance systems.

 

“As a leading financial institution, Access Bank continues to promote responsible environmental stewardship and stimulate socially responsible development.

 

“Its management approach to sustainability is grounded on global best practices and aims to impact across the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Its compliance management strategy has continued to evolve as it constantly seeks to meet the demands of a dynamic and fast-changing world.”

Culled from THISDAY

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