Access Bank Plc is offering collateral-free financing support targeting 30, 000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) this year alone.
With a historic credit innovation that is already changing MSMEs’ lending story, Nigeria’s largest retail bank says all that MSME customer needs to access credit is just to keep a good credit record, be able to keep sales record and be assisted with managerial support services from the bank.
“We don’t make impossible demands on the customer. We won’t ask you for a leg and an arm. Once you keep good credit record and sales record, that is your guaranty to get a loan,” says Access Bank’s Head of Emerging Businesses, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede.
In a chat with financial journalists in Lagos, Olojede disclosed that as at end of June, more than 12, 000 MSMEs have come under the radar of the scheme intended to drive speedy growth of the sector remarkable for credit starvation by commercial banks.
According to her, in 2018 alone the bank advanced N37billion new loans to MSME new customers, making the bank highest lender to operators in that key segment of the economy.
“We don’t pay lip service to our love for MSMEs. To the extent of how much we want to support them, we have also invested significantly in our understanding of the risk factors, risk variables in that segment,” said Mrs. Olojede.
She said the bank has introduced an innovative approach to lending to the sector where customers are supported with all important managerial finesse, particularly sales records. But they (customers) also need to keep good credit record which smoothens their chances of getting loans.
She said: “What we do is work with the type of assets that you have. We leverage the National Collateral Registry (NCR) to be able to register those assets. I make bold to say that it is only Access Bank that is using that NCR in support of MSMEs.
“With this innovative approach that we introduced, even customers who do not have business records are able to access loans because we work with our partner lawyers to be able to help them register that business. Once that is done, they are able to get loans from our bank,” Olojede concluded.
Boosting credit access to women with W-Power initiative
Women in business have got greater chances to get the loans, not only faster but also at a concessional interest rate of 15 per cent per annum, a rate much lower than regular market price. However, this applies to businesses where 50 per cent ownership belongs to the female customer applying for the loan. Olojede disclosed that 30 per cent of the N37billion loans in 2018 was used to support women through the flagship W-Power initiative.
She said, “what we have done with W-Power initiative is that if you (as a woman) own 50 per cent of your business, you get a loan at 15 per cent per annum.”
To encourage other women-owned businesses that are not yet at the stage of 50 per cent shareholding, the bank has also provided two basis points concession for 40 – 49 per cent woman shareholding, and one basis point concession for 30 – 39 per cent woman ownership.
What this means is that women-owned businesses are granted loans at interest rates lower than the regular market price which the bank charges.