The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has fully subscribed the $90 million bond issuance of TMB Bank, one of Thailand’s leading banks, which is dedicated to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The latest bond is exclusively earmarked to expand TMB’s SME lending program and offers a critical market-based solution to support the sustained growth of this major but underserved segment.
In Thailand, SMEs comprise over 95 percent of the country’s businesses, providing 80 percent of employment. However, limited access to finance deters them from innovating, improving productivity, and creating more jobs. The latest Enterprise Survey released estimates that the SME finance gap in Thailand is $41 billion or about 10 percent of the country’s GDP. In addition, only 16 percent of Thai SMEs have a bank loan compared to 28 percent in the East Asia and Pacific region and 35 percent globally.
IFC’s partnership with TMB dates back to 2012 when the two institutions joined forces to support rebuilding of SMEs after the destructive floods in Thailand. This was followed by a risk-sharing facility in 2014 with which IFC supported TMB’s expansion in the SME market. In June this year, IFC also invested $60 million in TMB’s green bond—the first financial institution in the country to issue a green bond.
With more than 30 years’ experience in SME development, IFC works with banks to expand financing, reduce non-performing loans, and recover distressed assets to support the growth of a sustainable banking sector. In Thailand, IFC supports financial institutions that cater to SMEs, which account for 41 percent of the Thai GDP.