Access Bank Plc said it has given out more than N19 billion to women in loans and has pledged its continuous support for women-led businesses in the country.
Speaking at the bank’s International Women Day conference for female professionals in Lagos recently, the Group Head, Women Banking, Ayona Aguele-Trimnell, said the bank through its ‘W’ Initiative, which is targeted at women had also given out N15 billion to women-led businesses.
She said the bank was set to increase its focus on women this year, through more capacity building programmes as well as continuous support through access to finance.
She said: “For individual women, we have given out loans of up to N19 billion since 2014, while for women in business, it is around N15 billion and these are individual loans to women. “A lot of women who work also have businesses and also through their salary account also take loans for mortgages more. Our portfolio is about N19 billion.”
She added: “We are always ready to support women. We have about 13 million women customers meaning that one in three women have an Access Bank account and that comes with many needs. So, we would continue to support women emotionally and financially.
“We realised that access to funding for women is an issue and women still have to get loans and we have a variety of products that are available using their salary accounts and many more offerings.”
Aguele-Trimnell explained that the ‘W’ Initiative is a program that was designed for women in business, women in family and professional women.
“Women professionals are increasing and we are now almost 60 per cent of the workforce and more women are working.
“We recognise that these professionals are the foundations of the family. Just as much as women entrepreneurs are contributing to the family and home, women professionals are the ones that get the loans, buy cars and educate their children. So, this year we would focus on all the women,” she added.
She further said the bank would continue to provide financial support services and capacity building, training, networking and mentoring.
Also, speaking at the conference, the Executive Director, Business Banking, Access Bank, Chizoma Okoli, urged the participants to have a strong support system, citing its importance for career advancement.
On her part, the Head Group Human Resources, at Access Bank, Bolaji Agbede, stressed the need for professional women to ensure that they continually broaden their scope, sharpen their skills and widen their horizon for them to be able to rise to the top of their career.