Manila, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the regional bank headquartered in Manila, has announced that it has signed a $25m loan with Vietnam’s Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPB) to expand access to finance of women-owned and -led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in Vietnam. The project is also cofinanced by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) for $25m. 

Furthermore, the loan is accompanied by a $750,000 technical assistance grant to help TPB better meet the needs of WSMEs. The grant will be used to build TPB’s capacity to lend to WSMEs, hire staff, and promote its services to female borrowers. It will also enable TPB to use digital systems to analyze the underserved WSME market. The grant is funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which is hosted by the World Bank Group.

“We are very pleased to partner with TPB and We-Fi to support WSMEs, which are important channels to increase women’s participation in Vietnam’s economic development,” said ADB’s Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury.

“COVID-19 has severely affected many businesses, and initiatives such as this loan and grant will support particularly underserved female borrowers by helping TPB develop systems and procedures to improve their access to finance,” adds Gaboury.

ADB shares data that as of 2018, the majority of businesses in Vietnam are classified as SMEs, supporting 38% of the country’s employment and generating 40% of gross domestic product. But their access to finance is still a challenge, with only 37% of WSMEs able to obtain loans from banks, according to a 2017 study. 

“ADB, DEG, and TPB’s goals are uniquely aligned especially in our mutual support of WSMEs,” said TPB’s Chief Executive Officer Nguyen Hung.

 “We will continue to leverage our strength in digital banking to tailor products and services for WSMEs and plan to increase supply chain financing and support services, liquidity, and digital banking products to reach underserved customers,” added Nguyen Hung. 

TPB is one of the leading joint-stock banks in Vietnam. Currently, it has digital platforms targeted to help meet the needs of its retail and SME customers by offering innovative and customized products.