IFC will support Axis Bank's trade finance business by providing partial or full guarantees covering payment risk of its clients.
IFC's Global Trade Finance Program promotes trade among emerging markets, complementing the capacity of banks to ensure liquidity to export-oriented small and medium enterprises. The program's network enables local financial institutions to tie up with major international banks and offer competitive financing.
"IFC's trade finance facility will support Axis Bank's ability to help small businesses tap growth opportunities," said Sidharth Rath, President, Treasury and Business Banking, Axis Bank. "With wider access to IFC's global network of partner banks, we aim to facilitate trading transactions of our customers at low risk."
IFC's Global Trade Finance Program was launched in 2005 mainly to increase the share of developing countries in global trade. Under the program, IFC has globally provided $23 billion in credit guarantees for more than 26,000 trade transactions. The program brings together over 500 banks in 150 countries, linking large banks in developed markets with smaller ones in fragile and conflicted-affected states and the poorest regions of middle-income countries.
"A recent IFC study on Indian micro, small and medium enterprises, found that the banks are currently meeting only one-fourth of the financing demand from small businesses. Access to trade finance is a critical part of their need," said Thomas Davenport, IFC Director for South Asia. "This partnership will enable Axis Bank to meet critical liquidity needs of small and medium borrowers and grow their businesses."
Axis Bank is an existing client of IFC. In December 2011, IFC had provided Axis Bank with $60 million credit facility for financing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. IFC is also supporting Axis Bank in piloting innovative banking channels using remittances, helping improve access to finance for low-income people. Axis Bank offers a range of financial services and products to all customer segments including large and mid-corporates, small and medium enterprises, agriculture and retail businesses.