EFSE allocates second senior loan to Azerbaijan’s AccessBank

EFSE allocates second senior loan to Azerbaijan’s AccessBank

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 5

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The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) is expanding its long-standing partnership with Azerbaijan's AccessBank through a $20 million credit facility.

A message from AccessBank said Feb. 5 that the new senior loan, supporting economic development and entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan, will be utilized by AccessBank to provide financing to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the country's rural areas.

The loan facility to AccessBank, the leading microfinance bank in Azerbaijan, will contribute to provide more than 6,000 additional micro loans to the bank's clients. This will further strengthen AccessBank's ability to provide longer-term investment loans to match the financing needs of MSEs.

"We strongly welcome this significant commitment from EFSE. The funds will be utilized by the bank to support a large number of micro and small local entrepreneurs in particular in the regions of Azerbaijan", Michael Hoffmann, CEO of AccessBank, said.

"With its strong focus on micro, small and medium enterprises as well as with its leading market position, AccessBank has proved to be a reliable partner in reaching out to the EFSE's target group" said Monika Beck, Chairperson of the Board of EFSE. "Since becoming an EFSE partner lending institution in 2011, AccessBank has consistently and successfully utilized the fund's monies to achieve our common goals."

The EFSE allocated the first loan, worth $15 million, for AccessBank in early 2014.

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) was initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission.

It aims to foster economic development and prosperity in the countries of Southeast Europe and the South Caucasus region.

As access to finance is a key success factor in developing the micro, small and medium enterprise segments, the EFSE focuses on assisting local financial sectors in strengthening their ability to ensure adequate and sustainable financing.

Supporting the EFSE's investment activities is the EFSE Development Facility, which provides partner lending institutions with technical assistance, consulting and training services to build operational capacities and professional management.

AccessBank was founded in 2002 by BSTDB, EBRD, IFC, KfW, the German consulting company LFS Financial Systems (LFS) and Access Holding.

AccessBank provides loans to micro and small businesses and has a wide network of branches in Azerbaijan employing more than 2000 people.

Fitch Ratings assessed AccessBank as BBB-, the highest credit rating among all banks in Azerbaijan.

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