Vietnam’s An Binh Bank (Abbank) has secured a US$150mn financing package to on-lend to SMEs.

The finance was arranged by the IFC, in collaboration with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, which ensures that one-third of the funding will support women-owned businesses.

The first phase of the package comes in a US$110mn syndicated loan. The IFC has contributed US$40mn from its own account, with US$70mn coming from Bangkok Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Maybank. The remaining US$40mn will come from two unnamed international lenders before the end of December.

Abbank will use the finance to triple its SME portfolio, which will reach more than US$1bn by 2021. It will also help quadruple its lending to women-owned SMEs in Vietnam. An IFC study shows that there’s a US$1.2bn credit gap for Vietnam’s women-owned SME sector – it is more difficult for these sorts of businesses to obtain finance than others.

“Goldman Sachs research shows that closing the credit gap for women-owned SMEs in emerging markets could push income per capita an average of 12% higher by 2030. Women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact Vietnam’s future growth as a result of this commitment,” says Charlotte Keenan, head of 10,000 Women.

This feeds into a wider picture of SME lending in Vietnam. SMEs account for 90% of the country’s businesses, but just 30% have access to formal financial services.

An Abbank spokesperson says: ““The much-needed syndicated funding from the IFC and partner banks will help strengthen Abbank’s SME and women-owned SME portfolios, thus positioning the bank to become one of the leaders in this segment. In addition, this loan will provide the bank with a more diversified source of long-term funding from international lenders.”