IFC, in collaboration with the government of Japan and the World Bank Institute, has organized training for bankers to develop financial products to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises.

Reportedly, 33 bankers and trainers from 20 institutions from Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh participated in the program, which included sessions essential to building a sustainable SME banking business such as product design, credit risk management and support functions.

Small and medium enterprises, accounting for more than 90% of registered companies in the world, are a major driver for economic growth and job creation. Their role is even more important in the post-crisis period. Yet small businesses often lack access to financial products and services, especially in developing countries. IFC advised financial services providers on how they can develop operations for small and medium businesses and increase their access to financial services.

Ian Crosby, manager of advisory services at IFC in South Asia, said: “Supporting SMEs fosters sustainable economic growth and creates jobs.”

Peer Stein, global business line leader of advisory services in access to finance at IFC, said: “In many countries the majority of jobs are provided by SMEs. They are vital to national economies and need access to financial services to increase productivity of their business, develop new markets, and hire more people. These trainings provide banks working with SMEs the specific skills and knowledge to implement or enhance their SME Finance programs.”