Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Access Bank Plc has reaffirmed its commitment to women empowerment with an assurance that it will continue to initiate programmes and products that are women-friendly in a bid to make them socially and economically strong.
The Group Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, who represented the Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe at a breakfast meeting with women entrepreneurs, in Abuja recently said Access Bank remains unwavering in its commitment to uplift women in business and entrepreneurship.
He cited the â€œWâ€ Initiative, a one-stop centre of all the bankâ€™s women empowerment offerings, some of which include capacity-building programmes exclusive to women, mentoring programmes, and maternal health servicesâ€”all aimed at helping to build a bigger, stronger and more sustainable society .
According to him, the â€œWâ€ Initiative was re-launched in 2014, noting that the World Bank and the African Finance Corporation (AFC) were partnering with the bank on the programme.
Under the initiative, participating women and their families have access to a wide range of opportunities, including privileges to access loans and credit facilities, and access to the â€˜Wâ€™ community in which they can get insights concerning family matters and finance matters.
Ogbonna stated that the â€œWâ€ initiative also hosts the Maternal Health Support Scheme(MHSS), through which Access Bank supports local and international treatments for fertility antenatal and post-natal treatment, and other specialist procedures.
According to him, since the bank launched its gender empowerment programme, over 1,000 women had been empowered to run businesses with a turnover of over N1 billion, adding that the programme remains a huge success story.
The bankâ€™s gender-sensitivity towards women, he noted, was also given practical expression from available employment and customer base statistics.
Over 30 per cent of the bankâ€™s employees, he said, are women, adding that no fewer than two women are also executive directors in the bank, just as one out of every three customers of the bank are women.
He pointed out that these were not mere coincidences, but deliberate actions by the bank to maximise the potential of women and also put them at advantageous positions to contribute to socio-economic development.
The GDMD stated that the bank would continue to provide loans to women, noting that from records, women have a 0.07 per cent default rate in the repayment of bank facilities vis-Ã -vis their male counterparts with a higher propensity to default.