The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group, recently loaned USD 15 million to AccessBank, a microfinance bank in Azerbaijan, to supplement lending to micro-small and medium sized-enterprises in the country. The funding is expected to provide particular benefit to those in rural areas who are often unable to secure funding from bigger commercial banks.
Michael Hoffman, the CEO of AccessBank, reportedly noted that, “Growth of micro and small businesses is often hampered by a lack of access to financial services, in particular in the rural regions of the country and for small agricultural businesses.”
IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus Thomas Lubeck stated that, “This cooperation is yet another step forward in implementing our strategy in Azerbaijan to foster sustainable growth and diversification of the economy through investment and advisory support to the non-oil sectors.”
IFC owns a 20- percent stake in AccessBank Azerbaijan. As of October 2012, AccessBank reports USD 577 million in total assets and 34 branches in the country. As of 2011, Access Bank reported deposits of USD 178 million and 110,000 depositors. It also reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 376 million with 118,000 active borrowers, return on assets of 4.71 percent and return on equity of 21.41 percent.
By Chioma Okwudiafor, Research Associate
About International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, offers loans, equity investments, advisory services and technical assistance to private companies with the intent of alleviating poverty and promoting open and competitive markets in developing countries. As of 2012, IFC reported income before grants to IDA of USD 1.6 billion and total assets of USD 75.7 billion.
About AccessBank, Azerbaijan
Founded in 2002, Access Bank provides credit and other financial services to Azerbaijan’s micro- and small businesses and low-and middle-income families. Access Bank is owned by six foreign shareholders: the Greece-based Black Sea Trade and Development Bank; the UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the US-based International Finance Corporation; Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau(KfW) (20 percent each); Access Microfinance Holding, a German microfinance investor (16.53 percent); and LFS Financial Systems, a German consulting company (3.47 percent). As of 2011, Access Bank reported deposits of USD 178 million and 110,000 depositors. It also reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 376 million with 118,000 active borrowers, return on assets of 4.71 percent and return on equity of 21.41 percent. As of October 2012, Access Bank reports USD 577 million in total assets and 34 branches in the country.
Sources and Additional Resources:
Access Bank Press Release: AccessBank attracts $ 15 million from IFC
MicroCapital Story: October 17, 2012, “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institution AccessBank of Azerbaijan Launches Credit Cards”
MicroCapital Universe Profile: International Finance Corporation
MicroCapital Universe Profile: AccessBank
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