IFC partners with SeABank to lending smaller and women-owned SMEs in Viet Nam

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 17:41

Two sides signed a loan agreement on Friday. — Photo courtesy of IFC

International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing a US$40 million loan to Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) to support local businesses and help them make a resilient recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, the member of the World Bank Group said on Monday.

The first phase of up to $150 million in financing, the funding package will help expand lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially women-owned businesses, increase access to climate finance and boost international trade opportunities.

The package will comprise up to $80 million from IFC’s own account and $50 million to be mobilised from international lenders, in addition to a $20 million trade finance line. While the investment aims to increase SeABank’s SME lending portfolio, at least $20 million will be earmarked for women-owned SMEs, with support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

With a strategy to expand its reach to women-owned and -led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs), IFC’s funding will help the bank triple its current WSME lending, accounting for about 25 per cent of its total SME portfolio by 2024, IFC said in the statement.

Climate finance is a new area in Viet Nam with a $753 billion climate investment opportunity between 2016 and 2030 as the country aims to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 9 per cent by 2030 to mitigate climate change impact. IFC is helping SeABank to support this country with $30 million to be allocated for climate-friendly projects. Further, IFC’s support is expected to help SeABank build a $60 million climate-finance portfolio by 2024.

“IFC’s long-term financing and technical advice will enable SeABank to focus on two strategic segments – WSMEs and climate financing – and position itself as a bank of choice for women-owned businesses and climate-friendly projects over the next five years,” said Le Thu Thuy, General Director of SeABank.

Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR, said: “IFC’s new partnership with SeABank reaffirms IFC’s commitment to support the continued development of a strong financial sector in Viet Nam.”

“Our investment in SeABank reiterates our confidence in the bank and its strategic direction to increase financing for SMEs and climate investments, furthering green and inclusive growth, and helping Viet Nam build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic.” — VNS

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