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Stanbic Bank rolls out Sh20 billion women-only loans

Charles Mudiwa
Stanbic Bank chief executive officer Charles Mudiwa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Stanbic Bank #ticker:SCBK has launched a Sh20 billion kitty targeting women entrepreneurs, coming amid a tough credit access environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Stanbic Bank chief executive officer Charles Mudiwa said the loans, whose interest rates were not immediately disclosed, aim to boost financial inclusion of women in formal and informal businesses and will run up to December 2020.

Female entrepreneurs own a majority of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, but most fail before they hit their third year of operation.

“With this money we shall target women with viable business plans in enterprises of all sizes in the formal and informal sectors,” Mr Mudiwa said yesterday.

The loan size per borrower will vary depending on the SME’s industry with Mr Mudiwa saying they will be “cheaper’ compared to the current lending rate capped at 14 per cent by the Central Bank of Kenya.

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The lender will also train the businesswomen on management of their funds under a deal with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Stanbic’s financial advisory deal with IFC and local lenders follows similar agreements with the Gulf African Bank, Co-op Bank and Equity Bank with an emphasis on youth and women-owned SMEs.

A report by the IFC showed that women own 33 per cent of all SMEs or slightly above 517,000 businesses, highlighting the need to increase credit access and avert their closures over financial constraints.

A report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in 2017 showed that nearly 400,000 SMEs fail before their second year due to lack of funds for day-to-day operations and salary payments.

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