The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide Yoma Bank Ltd with a US$5 million convertible loan aimed at benefitting small and medium enterprises, a news release said on September 16.
The package is expected to help Yoma Bank expand lending to small and medium enterprises, a sector of Myanmar's economy in desperate need of financing to grow and create more jobs, the release said.
The agreement was signed by Yoma Bank executive chairman and chief executive officer U Theim Wai, and IFC vice president, Asia-Pacific, Ms Karin Finkelston, at a ceremony at the Myanmar International Center in Nay Pyi Taw, the release said.
“We're very pleased to be here today to be providing long-term financing to Yoma Bank,” Ms Finkelston said at the ceremony.
“I think Yoma has a commitment, obviously, to the local business sector through the small business sector in Myanmar but also a commitment to standards,” she said.
The news release said the loan was the first step in IFC financial support for the bank, which may be increased to $30 million in the coming years in the form of equity, senior debt and trade guarantee lines under the corporation's Global Trade Finance Program.
The program boosts a bank's capacity to provide financing for importers and exporters.
The additional support for Yoma Bank will be subject to further due diligence and subsequent approvals from IFC's management and board, the release said.
“It is crucial that small and medium enterprises in Myanmar have access to financial services that allow them to operate and thrive,” U Theim Wai, also known as U Serge Pun, was quoted as saying in the release.
“Yoma Bank is proud to grow its business in partnership with IFC to support SMEs in Myanmar, which are critical for the country's economic and social development,” he said.
“It is our aim to be a leading SME Bank in the country and to contribute toward developing a vibrant SME sector in the country.”
As well as the loan, the IFC will advise Yoma Bank on identifying and installing a core banking system, enhancing its risk management and corporate governance and developing new products and delivery channels for small and medium enterprises during the next three years, the release said.
Yoma Bank, one of Myanmar's largest private banks with more than 50 branches, will also develop policies and procedures to identify and manage environment and social risks associated with the business activities it finances, it said.
IFC's investment and advisory support is expected to help Yoma Bank provide an additional 1,000 loans worth $370 million to small and medium enterprises in Myanmar by 2019, the release said.
“IFC puts a strategic focus on supporting the development of Myanmar's financial and banking sector as banks are critically important in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and contribute to the overall economy,” said Ms Finkelston.
“IFC supports Yoma Bank and other lenders to develop environmental and social sustainability and standards and governance structures that will help them integrate into the international banking community and better serve the needs of Myanmar's small and medium enterprises.”
The IFC describes itself as the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. It says it is working with private enterprises in about 100 countries to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
(Ko Ko Gyi)
International Finance Corporation vice-president, Asia-Pacific, Ms Karin Finkelston, and Yoma Bank executive chairman and chief executive officer, U Theim Wai (right), at the signing ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw on September 16 for a US$5 million loan...