In a bid to support female entrepreneurs in their drive towards economic expansion, Access Bank Plc through its W Initiative says women can now borrow at 15 per cent interest rate from the bank to help them grow their business.
It said this is to further deepen its relationship with female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
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With the W Initiative, the bank hopes to offer over N100 billion as loans to different businesswomen in 2022.
Speaking at the Access Bank International Women’s Day celebration, Abiodun Olubitan, Head of Access Bank W Initiative, said the bank had given out about N11 billion loans to different female entrepreneurs in the last three months.
Olubitan disclosed that Access Bank has also given out over N100 billion as soft loans to different women in the past eight years.
In addition to financial inclusion, the W Initiative is a one-stop centre of all Access Bank’s women empowerment offering. Some of these include capacity-building programmes exclusive to women, mentoring programmes, and maternal health services, all aimed at helping to build a bigger and more sustainable society.
Speaking at the event, Olubitan said the bank’s target is to give out N100 billion as soft loans to women at 15 per cent interest rate in 2022.
She explained that the 15 per cent makes it more attractive when compared to the 25 per cent interest rate given to men.
“There are different structures to them; we have females that are in business and we have a specific product for them which is the W-power loan. The W-Power loan is available for women to support their working capital, to support their business expansion, and also to get fixed assets in place for their business. And on that W-power loan, we have a hybrid version of it that we make available for them to soften their logistics problem, which is to buy a vehicle, to move their goods around or to make deliveries, or to support their school business, depending on what type of business they do.
“It is not a single interest, but it is 15 per cent, knowing the interest rate in the market. When men are borrowing at 22 – 24 per cent, the women are borrowing at 15 per cent, so it’s highly discounted” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Nwigwe, said the international women’s week, celebrated globally, hopes to address issues of gender bias, and that Access Bank, as an institution, has always kicked against the discrimination against women, and has set time to celebrate with all women.