March 12, 2019 / 3:52 PM / 4 months ago

Nigeria's Access Bank gets $162.5 mln loan to support local business

LAGOS, March 12 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Access Bank said it has signed a $162.5 million subordinated syndicated loan which it will use to help support local businesses.

Difficulty securing financing is a major hindrance to the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa’s most populous nation.

“Specific attention will be paid to strengthen micro, small and medium-size enterprises as many have been held back due to a lack of access to finance,” Access Chief Executive Herbert Wigwe said.

The commercial bank said in a statement that the facility will enable it to implement its 5-year strategy focused on improving its retail banking offering, while creating jobs in the Nigerian economy.

The facility was arranged by Dutch development bank FMO, along with other foreign financiers including the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries and Britain’s CDC Group.

Last week, Access said it received shareholder approval to take over rival Diamond Bank in a $235 million deal that would create Africa’s largest bank by customers.

Access said both banks would operate under the new Access Bank brand from April 1.

Reporting by Didi Akinyelure Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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