Opening remarks by Ashok Lavasa, ADB Vice President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships, at the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank Signing, 11 November 2022

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and a warm welcome. I am very pleased to join the signing ceremony of the $500 million loan package with the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPB) to expand access to finance for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) and social loan projects in Viet Nam. This signing marks an important milestone in ADB’s relationship with VPB.

The financing package comprises a $100 million loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources that will be dedicated to WSME financing, and includes a $300 million syndicated parallel loan jointly mobilized by ADB and SMBC. The Japan International Cooperation Agency has also provided a $100 million loan for this transaction. ADB values its partnership with cofinancing institutions in mobilizing resources for enhancing development effectiveness.

The long-term funding from ADB will increase VPB’s capacity to finance an underserved segment. Almost all of Viet Nam’s businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), accounting for about 98% of registered enterprises and contributing approximately 40% of GDP and 50% of total employment in 2019. Access to finance has always been challenging for SMEs and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this funding gap. Female borrowers are particularly underserved, and the transaction will specifically target WSMEs, supported by an attached grant, which will be used to incentivize VPB to expand lending to WSMEs. Targeting women borrowers is new for banks in Viet Nam and, given VPB’s visibility in the market, this intervention will provide vital funding for and raise the profile of this underserved segment during Vietnam’s post-pandemic recovery.

ADB has been working with banks in targeting sectors where ADB can have a meaningful impact. ADB has had a relationship with VPB through its Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program since 2015. Given VPB’s leadership position in digital banking, commitment to further expand its WSMEs portfolio, strong financial performance, and good corporate governance, the bank is an excellent partner with which access to finance for WSMEs can be expanded. I am happy to share with all of you that this project achieved the highest gender categorization within ADB and will be the second project where ADB is blending a private sector loan with a performance-based grant, funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) in Viet Nam. The grant is notable because it will not only incentivize VP Bank to invest in expanding its services to women but also to host a randomized control trial. This study is the first of its kind in Vietnam and will allow VP Bank to test whether interventions designed to support female clients really work and how well they work. The lessons from the randomized control trial will be shared with other stakeholders in Viet Nam and the development and economic communities globally.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for attending this ceremony to witness the signing of the loan agreement with VPB. Congratulations to Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank, all our co-financing partners, and our entire team at ADB. I wish the very best to this collaborative effort in reaching out to the intended beneficiaries and I wish them success.

Speaker

  • Lavasa, Ashok
    Lavasa, Ashok
    Vice-President (Private Sector Operations and Public-Private Partnerships)
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