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Victoria Bank woos women with Sh1bn kitty

Sunil Pallan with VCB chief executive Yogesh Pattni
World Business Capital executive vice president Sunil Pallan with VCB chief executive Yogesh Pattni. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Women-led businesses will be the biggest beneficiary of the Sh1 billion loan Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB) has secured from a US lender for on-lending to small and medium sized enterprises.

VCB on June 28 inked a loan deal with World Business Capital (WBC) in Nairobi, marking the first investment in Kenya’s banking industry by the US financier that focuses on small and midium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. The Kenyan lender, which largely lends to niche corporate clients in manufacturing and wholesale/retail sectors, said it will reserve a significant portion of the Sh1 billion for businesses owned by women.

“This credit line…reflects the good standing of VCB and its strong asset base,” chief executive Yogeshi Pattni said.

“The facility also demonstrates the confidence of international lenders in the Kenyan banking sector.” The deal – arranged by Dubai-based corporate advisory Nimai – has been guaranteed by Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government-owned agency which helps American private firms gain foothold in emerging markets such as Kenya.

VCB, which operates four branches in Nairobi, posted a 4.18 per cent growth in net profit to Sh617.18 million in 2017.

Its loan book expanded 23.39 per cent to Sh18.87 billion last year and was one of the healthiest lenders in the country with total capital to total risk-weighted assets of 22.70 per cent against statutory requirement of 14.5 per cent.

“In VCB, we saw a solid management team, strong and growing operations, and extensive working with SMEs,” WBC chief executive Robert Monyak said in the statement. “Our loan facility for VCB offers a unique and exciting opportunity to extend WBC’s support of SMEs worldwide to a new market.”