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July 27, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank has signed up a 15 million dollar credit to lend to small and medium enterprises, especially those in former war zones and tsunami hit areas, the Asian Development Bank said. About 20 percent of the facility will target women borrowers. The loans will be given to businesses with turnover less than 600 million rupees.

ADB will release the funds to NTB in two tranches.

Nations Trust Bank is a commercial bank with 64 branches, including 18 outside Colombo and six in the north and east, which will help it better access and serve customers outside the capital, ADB said.

At the end of December 2012, its 2.4 percent total banking loans in Sri Lanka. Despite its size, its credit standing is close to or at par with some of Sri Lanka’s larger commercial banks, ADB said.

“As the economy continues its robust growth, SME demand for finance has steadily increased,” Monisha Hermans, Investment Specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department said in a statement.

“However, SMEs are experiencing difficulties accessing funding, particularly longer-term.

“Providing financing opportunities will help reach underserved customers and close the funding gap

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