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US$ 15 million to AccessBank for loans to small businesses in Azerbaijan

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing additional funds for loans to small businesses with a loan of up to US$ 15 million to AccessBank Azerbaijan, allowing for a diversification of the bank’s funding base.

With this five-year senior loan, the EBRD is increasing the availability of lending to entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan. The EBRD’s funds will help AccessBank Azerbaijan in expanding its MSME (micro, small and medium-sized enterprise) lending portfolio in the regions outside of Baku with a particular focus on agricultural lending.

In addition the provision of longer tenor financing will strengthen AccessBank’s balance sheet and business model by improving the diversification and maturity of funding.

"The EBRD's strategy for the financial institutions sector in Azerbaijan focuses on improving access to finance for small and rural businesses and promoting regional development.   AccessBank's leadership in MSME finance and regional branch networks is crucial as it is the first financial institution to reach out to sectors and regions which are not currently well served," said Neil McKain, Head of the EBRD’s Resident Office in Azerbaijan.

AccessBank CEO Dr Andrew Pospielovsky, on signing the loan agreement, said: “This latest US$ 15 million loan marks a decade of close cooperation between AccessBank and the EBRD. On behalf of the Bank and our 80,000 business clients we thank the EBRD for this continued support.”

AccessBank is the leading provider of financial services to MSMEs in Azerbaijan with MSME lending currently accounting for 90 per cent of AccessBank’s loan portfolio. It is also the seventh-largest bank by total loan portfolio and the highest-rated bank in Azerbaijan.

In the country, the EBRD focuses on promoting small private businesses, developing the banking sector and the non-oil sectors of the economy. To date, the EBRD has committed over US$ 1.5 billion in various sectors of the Azerbaijani economy in about 120 projects.

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