Via a long-term credit line of USD 20 million to Eastern Bank Limited, OeEB helps improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as well as for companies in the readymade garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh.

Project name Eastern Bank Limited
Region Southern and Eastern Asia
Sector Financial sector / Microfinance / SME
Service Investment Finance
Project country Bangladesh
Project volume USD 20 million
Project partner(s) Eastern Bank Limited

Despite high economic growth in recent years, Bangladesh is still one of the poorest countries in the world (Least Developed Countries). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seen as the driving force behind industrialisation and poverty reduction, however, their growth is severely restricted due to limited access to financial services.

As one of the country's key sectors, the ready-made garment (RMG) industry plays a key role – economically and socially - for Bangladesh. The RMG sector is not only the main contributor to export earnings of the country, but also the largest employer; the majority of employees are women. The funds provided by OeEB can therefore not only be used to finance local SMEs, but also to finance companies in this sector, provided they meet defined environmental and social standards, have committed themselves to the requirements of the ACCORD initiative (or its successors), i.e. they must have implemented or be in the process of implementing the defined regulations with regard to building security and fire protection, and be monitored regarding their compliance with international labour standards (e.g. by Sedex, BSCI).

As one of the largest commercial banks in the country, Eastern Bank Limited has an extensive branch network. With special financial products and specialised "SME Centers", EBL reaches SME customers across the country and was named "SME Bank of the Year - Asia" at the Global SME Finance Awards in 2018. With the funds made available by OeEB, EBL can further expand its range of services in the SME sector, thereby helping to strengthen the private sector and to create and secure jobs.