Access Bank Upsurges COVID-19 Resilience with Tier-2 Loan Facility

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Mary Nnah

In its continued efforts to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, Access Bank PLC, Nigerian banking giant, recently signed a Subordinated Syndicated Loan Agreement totalling $93.8 million with the Dutch development bank (FMO), the French private sector development bank (Proparco), and leading investment firm, Symbiotics.

The facility, according to Group Managing Director, Access Bank PLC, Herbert Wigwe, will enable the bank to continue on its strategic path to becoming Africa’s gateway to the world even after the unexpected simultaneous surfacing of the two ‘Black Swans’ in 2020: COVID-19 and the international oil crisis.

The tier-II capital facility was structured as a “10 years non-call five years” subordinated debt instrument, benefitting the bank for a period of 5 years.

“This deal is in line with our strategy to deepen Access Bank’s footprint in the retail segment as well as increasingly support local Micro, Small, and Medium-size Enterprises, thereby supporting job creation in the Nigerian economy”, Wigwe noted.

“The need to boost capital is extremely important today in the context of the negative socio-economic impact of COVID-19, hence, the $93.8 million Tier-II capital eligible loan will help us continue to sustainably support businesses that need finance.

“These businesses will be able to continually provide essential products and services thereby achieving sustainable and inclusive growth”, he stated further.

“The transaction is evidence of Access Bank’s commitment to facilitating economic growth and development in Nigeria and Africa as well as creating business opportunities for all stakeholders including women, across its entire value chain. We are truly inspired and we remain committed to our goal of being Africa’s gateway to the world,” Wigwe concluded.

Reiterating Wigwe’s statement, Chief Investment Officer at FMO, Linda Broekhuizen, said: “Once a very small player in the Nigerian financial services sector, Access Bank has become the largest bank in Nigeria with a wide array of financial services, including some very exciting gender finance work.

“We have been proud to support the team at Access Bank all those years, during good times and more challenging ones, like today. We are grateful for the opportunity to support our partners at Access Bank again, helping them weather the impacts of COVID-19 and the international oil crisis.”

Commenting further on the partnership, the PROPARCO’s Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Clemente said, “We are thrilled to further strengthen our partnership with Access Bank, a top tier African financial institution committed to mainstreaming sustainable business practices in its operations.

“This transaction illustrates both Proparco’s commitment to foster the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa thanks to its partnership with African financial institutions within the Choose Africa initiative as well as our renewed support to our existing clients in a challenging economic environment. This additional Tier II capital will give Access Bank the needed flexibility in the current context.”

For its unwavering drive to promote women economic empowerment, the bank was recently named among qualifiers for the 2X Challenge. The 2X eligibility criteria were based on efforts put towards employment, leadership and consumption.

Head of Investments at Symbiotics, Daniel Schriber, said: “We are delighted to partner with Access Bank in a crucial time when support to micro, small and medium enterprises is critical to maintain jobs and strengthen livelihoods in Nigeria.”