Co-op, IFC ink Sh100m lending advisory deal


A Co-op Bank branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is offering advisory services to Co-op Bank #ticker:COOP in a $1 million (Sh100 million) deal aimed at enhancing the firm’s capacity in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises.

This marks the latest partnership between the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company and the global financier.

IFC has offered other technical advisory services to Co-op Bank besides providing it with long-term loans for onward lending to SMEs.

“This is a banking advisory services project with Co-operative Bank, designed to increase access to finance to the medium sized businesses through skills enhancement, processes and procedures review to enable the bank effectively serve the segment,” IFC said in its investment disclosures.

IFC added that the initiative builds on an earlier such partnership with the bank and which has been delivered. The latest project is expected to run until August 31, 2020. Co-op Bank’s lending to SMEs has increased since it started working with IFC in 2016. Gross loans to this customer segment stood at Sh2.5 billion in 2017, representing about one percent of the total loan book of Sh268 billion.

The bank more than tripled the loans to SMEs in the subsequent year to Sh9.2 billion, committing 3.4 percent of its assets to this customer group.

“This project is designed to leverage and unlock the huge and lucrative potential of the MSME segment,” Co-op Bank said of the partnership.

It had provided loans to 11,126 small firms at the end of 2018.