By Babajide Komolafe
ACCESS Bank said its lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) rose by 68 percent to N37 billion in 2018 financial from N22 billion in 2017.
Head, Emerging Business, Access Bank Plc, Ayodele Olojede, disclosed this at a media briefing saying the huge increase was made possible by the new innovative approach the bank developed to enhance access to credit for its MSME customers.
She added that 30 percent of the loan was granted to women owned businesses, which also enjoyed some interest rate concessions.
She 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.
“We were able to achieve this feat because we introduced an innovative approach to lending and with this approach, all that the customer needs to access loan is to keep a good credit record and also keep sales record.
“We do not ask you for an arm or a leg. If you keep your sales record and have a good credit record you are guaranteed to be able to access a loan. What we do is that we work with the type of asset that you have and then we leverage the National Collateral Registry (NCR) to register those assets.
“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 percent of that amount were used to support women through our flagship power initiative.”