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Co-op seeks Sh123m for lending to small firms

by Grace Kisembo

Co-operative Bank is seeking Sh123.3 million ($1.19 million) funding to develop more loan products for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a project financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In disclosures made on Friday, the IFC said the project, which will run until December 2018, will also train bank employees on serving SMEs.

“The 12-month project is expected to increase access to finance for the Co-operative Banks (sic) SME and Women markets clients through strengthening the Banks (sic) capacity to serve them,” said the IFC.

Under its Africa Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (AMSME) programme the IFC provides cheap credit for onward lending to African banks.

It also makes available its experts to guide financial institutions on developing affordable products for this segment.

The IFC, World Bank’s private lending arm, says it has so far disbursed Sh14 billion ($140 million) under the AMSME programme to 18 banks in 13 African countries.

Last year, Co-op received Sh10.7 billion ($105 million) from the IFC for lending to SMEs, women and housing sector investors. The IFC has also extended financing to other lenders including the Diamond Trust Bank #ticker:DTK, Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY, and NIC Bank #ticker:NIC.

Co-operative Bank saw its loan book post a year-on-year growth of 15 per cent at the end of March, the highest jump among listed banks.

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