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IFC Helps Banks Improve Access to Finance for Small Businesses in East Asia and the Pacific

Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2011— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping regional banks strengthen their credit reporting and financial products and services so they can improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in East Asia and the Pacific.
In cooperation with Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB), the  Development Bank of Austria, IFC is hosting a workshop in Bangkok today that brings together banks providing financial services to small and medium enterprises and credit reporting service providers from across East Asia and the Pacific.
The participants will discuss latest trends in credit reporting, the newly released draft standards on credit reporting and innovative approaches to SME financing. Full-file comprehensive credit reporting will help narrow the information gap between lenders and borrowers and enables SME lenders to make more informed lending decisions, which makes it easier and quicker for small and medium enterprises to obtain credit.
“Small and medium enterprises are a major driver of economic growth and job creation, yet they struggle to finance the growth of their businesses because financial institutions see them as too risky,” said Matthew Gamser, who heads IFC’s Access to Finance Advisory Services in East Asia and the Pacific. “Through better understanding of SMEs and by designing products and services that fit the needs of SMEs, the SME market can become one of the most dynamic and profitable segments for banks.”
More than 40 bankers and credit-reporting service providers from 20 institutions in 11 countries are participating in the workshop to share best practices in small and medium enterprises banking. The workshop also features some of the winners and finalists from the 2010 SME Finance Challenge hosted by the G-20 group of countries.
“The workshop gives strong insights on small and medium enterprises banking that are useful in building up and strengthening small business banking portfolios,” said Nguyen Tran Kien, Director of the SME Banking Department at VietinBank. “This is extremely important to our strategy to expand and improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in Vietnam.”
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
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