In May 2008, a devastating earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale shook Sichuan Province in western China, leaving about 100,000 people dead or missing and more than 10 million people homeless. Most disaster-affected enterprises needed outside financing to rebuild their production facilities or working capital to restart their operations.
In response, IFC initiated an Emergency Assistance Program to enhance Bank of Deyang's capacity to lend to SMEs and to enable it to support women-owned SMEs in the earthquake-affected areas, through both its Investment and Advisory Services.
IFC approved an equity investment of $31 million (15 percent of the stake) in Bank of Deyang to allow it to expand its lending operations. We also provided Advisory Services to build and strengthen the skills of bank staff while improving credit management and internal controls. As part of this capacity building, we provided gender sensitivity training to more than 50 senior and middle managers of the bank, and helped to establish the business case for focusing on the women-owned small-business market. IFC conducted research on the women's market and, together with a bank-led working group, is developing a suite of financial and business development products and services for the women's market in Deyang.
As a result of our work, Bank of Deyang launched a special microloan program for women supported by the Chinese government. The program disbursed more than $2 million to 322 women entrepreneurs, including almost 200 women coming from rural households, and more than 120 small business owners. This resulted in more than 1,000 jobs being created or maintained, benefiting unemployed township residents, rural women, and self-employed women.
Bank of Deyang has opened a branch in the city dedicated to serving women customers, and brands itself as a "women-friendly" bank. It aims to reach 4,300 women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises, with a goal of loans outstanding to these customers of $458 million by June 30, 2013. Bank of Deyang has also worked with the municipal Women's Union to start a women's lecture series, and has conducted two lectures so far. The bank has developed a dedicated portal for women clients on its website.
Bank of Deyang is the first Chinese bank to become a member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), a diverse group of 33 regional and global financial institutions, which together represent a unique financial network that is becoming the world's repository of global practices on women's banking and women in business. IFC supports GBA financially and as a member of the Board.
*As of June 2012
Carmen Niethammer | +1 (202) 974 4800 | Washington, DC, USA | CNiethammer@ifc.org