The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Cathay United Bank, from Taiwan, have agreed to lend US$50mn to Vietnam Prosperity Bank (VPBank).

Each will lend US$25mn to support small businesses in Vietnam, with VPBank agreeing that one quarter of the finance will go to women-owned SMEs.

In addition, the IFC will provide VPBank with US$25mn of guarantees, whereby trade transactions to that value are partially or fully guaranteed by the IFC as part of its global trade finance programme.

The finance is intended to stimulate microfinance in Vietnam, where debt finance can be hard to come by for small businesses, particularly through mainstream banking channels. The portion of debt allocated to female-owned businesses is channelled through the IFC’s Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, launched in 2014.