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We have invested significantly in SMEs because of our understanding of risk factors involved

Access Bank
Access Bank MD, Herbert Wigwe

Ayodele Olojede, head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, has said that the bank in the last three years has invested significantly towards the growth of SMEs in Nigeria, as the bank unveiled a fresh plan to give collateral-free loans to the SMEs, health and education sectors.

The bank, which had granted over N37 billion loans to SMEs in 2018, said the decision to once again stress its hands towards these sectors was borne out of a desire to help the sectors grow.

Olojede said, “We love SMEs and we do not pay lip service to SMEs and to the extent of how much we want to support SMEs, we have invested significantly in our understanding of the risk factors in that segment and sufficiently so because, in the last 3 years, we have supported SMEs. In 2018 alone, we granted up to N37bn in loans to our SME customers which won us the award globally.

“We were able to achieve this feat because we introduced an innovative approach to lending and you know that with this innovative approach to lending, all that the customer needs to be able to access loans is just to keep good credit record and sales record,” she explained.

Olojede noted that the loan portfolio is collateral-free for Nigerians and added that Access Bank is the only bank currently using the National Collateral Registry in support of MSMEs.

“All of our solutions are tailored to what a client requires.  If it was an equipment purchase or you just want to expand your business, we will be able to support you in that line. For school, if you want to buy books, school uniforms which are technical base requirements.”

“30 per cent of what we have granted to SMEs were used to support women through our W-power initiative and what we have done with the initiative is if you own 50 per cent of your business, you can get the loan at 15 per cent per annum.

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Olojede revealed that the bank has begun to expand its footprints in the Health, Education and Technology sector while adding that through its partnership with Medical Credit fund, Access Bank granted about N3 million without collateral.

She said: “For Education, we give loans of up to N10 million without collateral specifically for working capital purposes and we are also expanding our footprints in technology sector as well and even the re-introduced creative sector loan, we are currently on the forefront of pushing that and we are about the only bank to have submitted application to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

“We engaged over 11,000 customers and so far we have done about 12,000 and the target for the year is to engage about 30,000 MSMEs customers helping them with their finances, business practices and to help them understand how they can sell their products and support them with loans”.

Access Bank has unveiled a fresh audacious plan to fund the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as well as health and education sectors after a similar exercise for the players in the creative sector of the economy.

The bank, which had granted over N37 billion loans to SMEs in 2018, said the decision to once again stress its hands towards these sectors was borne out of a desire to help the sectors grow