FCMB encourages business owners to keep pace with emerging realities

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First City Monument Bank has urged business owners to keep pace with current and emerging realities in order to make their respective businesses productive and competitive, which will lead to progress for them and the nation.

FCMB made this known in a statement to commemorate this year’s International MSME Day, which is held every June 27.

The annual event provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of the contributions of such businesses towards ensuring sustainable development, poverty alleviation, empowerment and other benefits.

FCMB, as a leading financial powerhouse in Nigeria, has built a strong base and dominated the SMEs segment by consistently offering various cutting-edge solutions through its key pillars of support.

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The FCMB SME Advisory Service provides market intelligence and technical assistance support to businesses, access to intervention funds in partnership with Development Financial Institutions (DFIs), as well as provision of credit enhancement facilities to mitigate the credit risk and collateral gaps experienced in lending to SMEs.

Commenting on the significance of the International SMEs Day and commitment of FCMB to businesses, the Group Head, Business Banking of the Bank, Mr. George Ogbonnaya, said the Day is very important to the financial institution as a major operator in the global business community.

“We recognise the role of SMEs as catalysts for sustainable development. SMEs in Nigeria have what it takes to compete at the highest level in the international market, but without the requisite exposure and support, it can be very difficult to succeed. We strongly believe that SMEs need genuine support to play a frontal role in the development of individuals, communities and the country in general, especially as the world battles to overcome the negative effects of COVID-19”.

Last year, FCMB secured a $50 million loan facility from the International Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to help it expand lending to SMEs to ensure their sustainability following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The IFC facility, which is a demonstration of the strong confidence reposed in FCMB by global organisations and the market, has enabled it to support several businesses with trade financing and working capital loans. So far, the Bank has provided over N23bn loan guarantee support to SMEs with inadequate collateral coverage or those in start-up stage.

The Bank has also taken the lead in digitisation by automating its lending process for SMEs through the FCMB Quickloans platform. Through this channel, the lender has so far disbursed more than N90bn in loans to entrepreneurs. It processes over 25,000 digital loans with disbursements hitting an average of N7.5billion in a month.

For female-owned SMEs, FCMB has in place a robust proposition known as SheVentures, which offers enhanced support through access to finance, training and mentoring with the unique benefit of zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months.

Hundreds of female-owned SMEs have benefitted from zero interest loans, which range between N500,000.00 and N5million. Overall, since 2019, almost 15,000 of such businesses have benefitted from various FCMB SheVentures initiatives, in terms of funding and training.