Finance for Women-Owned SMEs in Vietnam, Climate Finance Promotion

Sustainable Living

To support local businesses and help them make a resilient recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, IFC is providing a US$40 million loan to Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank, stock code SSB). The first phase of an up to US$150 million financing package, the funding package will help expand lending to SMEs, especially women-owned businesses and increase access to climate finance.

The package will comprise up to US$80 million from IFC's own account and $50 million to be mobilized from international lenders, in addition to a US$20 million trade finance line. While the investment aims to increase SeABank's SME lending portfolio, at least US$20 million will be earmarked for WSMEs, with support from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). The IFC's funding will help the bank triple its current WSME lending, accounting for about 25 percent of its total SME portfolio by 2024.

In addition, IFC is helping SeABank to support Vietnam to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with US$30 million to be allocated for climate-friendly projects. IFC's support is also expected to help SeABank build a US$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 WSMEs and climate-friendly projects over the next five years while contributing to the stability of Vietnam's overall financial market," said Le Thu Thuy, General Director of SeABank.

IFC will advise SeABank to establish a women's banking strategy in order to enable women-owned SMEs close a US$4.9 billion financing gap, accounting for more than 20% of the total financial shortfall of SMEs in Vietnam. To assist decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the bank will support more green buildings and resource-efficient initiatives.

"Our investment in SeABank reiterates our confidence in the bank and its strategic direction to increase financing for SMEs and climate investments, and helping Vietnam build back better from the COVID pandemic," said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR.

IFC's US$20 million trade guarantee line under Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) will boost SeABank's capacity to provide financing for importers and exporters to minimize trade disruption given the ongoing pandemic, enable SeABank to join a network of more than 500 bank partners in nearly 100 emerging-market countries.

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