Standard Chartered pledges to raise lending to SMEs by 45% over next five years

Standard Chartered has said it will increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises by 45 per cent in its key markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the next five years. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Standard Chartered has said it will increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises by 45 per cent in its key markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the next five years. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Standard Chartered has said it will increase lending to small and medium-sized enterprises by 45 per cent in its key markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the next five years.

The bank made this pledge at the Clinton Global Initiative earlier this week. This is an annual event hosted by former United States President Bill Clinton that brings together heads of state and thought leaders to discuss social issues.

"This commitment represents a continued flow of credit to SMEs by the bank, a sector that's vital to fuelling emerging market economic growth," StanChart said in a statement on Friday.

Since the financial crisis in 2008, the bank's loans to SMEs has grown continuously by about US$2 billion a year to US$21.1 billion last year, it said.

Last year alone, lending was up 9.8 per cent.

This latest pledge will see SME lending increase to at least US$30 billion by 2018, the bank added.

StanChart currently supports around 680,000 SMEs across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The lending and advances facilities will include trade finance loans, business equipment loans, unsecured loans, overdrafts, leases, and mortgage loans or loans against properties.