Poised to create institutional support for growth of businesses and ultimately generate more jobs opportunities for the youths, Access Bank Plc disbursed N37 billion in loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operators in 2018.
The bank also facilitated capacity training programmes to support SME operators on the basic methods of business and financial management to position them for access to finance and continuity, leveraging information technology.
The Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Ayodele Olojede, noted that the segment of the economy accounts for over 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country.
This, according to the bank, had informed its decision to invest heavily towards the growth of SMEs and unlock the huge potentials of small businesses for job creation, poverty reduction and economic inclusion.
She pointed out that apart from access to finance, the major reason most banks refuse to lend to SMEs is their informal management structure.
To enhance SMEs operations, she said the bank has designed solutions aimed at growing their businesses and increase their capacity to handle big projects without financial difficulties.
In addition, she said the bank also engages organizations and individual consultants to educate operators on key managerial skills that would help small businesses access funds and ensure sustainability.
“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 three years, we have supported SMEs. In 2018 alone, we granted up to N37 billion 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 customers needs to be able to access loans is just to be able to keep good credit record and to be able to keep your own sales record,” she said.