Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s systemic important bank, and Tier-1 lender, says its financial target for 2022 is to give out loans of about N100 billion to women-led businesses.
According to the bank’s Abiodun Olubitan, Group Head of the W Initiative, this is Access Bank’s way of having more inclusion of women-owned businesses and expanding them for a better growing economy.
Olubitan who spoke at the sidelines of the International Women’s Day Celebration organised by Access Bank in Lagos recently, noted that the bank through the “W” initiative has been able to support several women for eight years while noting that 100,000 women have benefitted about N11 billion in terms of volume from the initiative.
She said, “So in terms of financial targets for loans, we are targeting to do around N100 billion this year because we are taking it further to have more women-owned businesses in the inclusive net”.
She further added that the bank has several products for women and these include the W power loan, Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS) and to date we have birthed about 7880 babies on MHSS within three months since inception.
Olubitan thereafter assured that Access Bank will continue with its drive for the “W” initiative and support and empower women across Nigeria and Africa at large.
Earlier in his opening remark, Herbert Wigwe, group chief executive officer, Access Bank Plc, said that the world needs more women on board to address the several serious problems affecting humanity.
Wigwe noted that the bank is in a standard position of supporting women as even the board has almost 50 per cent of women.
He explained that the “W” initiative goes all down to the grassroot and has programmes for women such as the MHSS which is structured to help women experience the joy of motherhood and access various fertility treatment at specialist hospitals at subsidized rates.
“For us at Access Bank, we believe that women need to be served better and deserve equal rights as men, deserve equal access to financial services because they represent the most devoted talents that one can find in the world,” he said.
Access Bank Plc. is a leading full-service commercial Bank operating through a network of more than 600 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 12 countries and 31 million customers. The Bank employs 28,000 people in its operations in Nigeria and has subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom (with a branch in Dubai, UAE) and representative offices in China, Lebanon and India.
In July 2014, Access Bank unveiled the “W” initiative to accelerate a new and stronger wave of hitherto scanty female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In addition to financial inclusion, the “W” initiative is a one-stop center of all of Access Bank’s women empowerment offerings. Some of these include capacity building programs exclusive to women, mentoring programmes, and maternal health services, all aimed at helping to build a bigger, stronger, and more sustainable society.
Under the “W” initiative, participating women and their families have access to a wide range of opportunities. Part of these privileges includes access to loans and credit facilities; access to the ‘W’ community in which they can get insights concerning family matters and finance matters. In addition, ‘W’ community also provides Women with access to information about several value-adding special offers for the home, including specially discounted offers as well as freebies on health, beauty, and fitness.