Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria who desire affordable and convenient funding to boost their respective businesses can now do so. This is because Women in Business at First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB) are set to launch a proposition that offers zero-interest rate on loans to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
The development is in line with the commitment of the bank to empower women-owned SMEs (existing and start-ups) through financial support, advisory and value-added products, to enhance customer experience and overall contribution to the growth of the country.
A statement explained that the bank has established a dedicated desk for women-owned businesses, under its Business Banking Group and equipped this unit with highly professional personnel to meet the needs of this segment.
The bank explained that the zero-interest rate product, which is for an initial period of three months, was designed as an all-round programme structured to prepare and equip the bank’s female owned SME customers to take their business to greater heights. This product comes with additional benefits, such as capacity building programmes through trainings and financial advisory services.
In all, 80 women every quarter would have access to mentorship and training and 40 of these women will benefit from the loan. This means that by the end of the year, we would have mentored 320 women and 160 women would have enjoyed the facility.
Commenting on the product, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said women have become important assets for social and economic growth, going by their business undertakings and exploits in the establishment and management of SMEs. According to her, “at FCMB, we recognise and appreciate the noble efforts of women entrepreneurs in the areas of job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, empowerment and the overall socio-economic development of Nigeria. Our zero-interest loan product is tailored to offer sustainable benefits and increase the productivity and contributions of women-owned SMEs. It will further unravel and unleash the true potential of women in entrepreneurship so they can take their respective businesses to greater heights and compete favourably in the global environment. We have also put in place, structures and processes to ensure transparent selection of the beneficiaries. We will hopefully increase the number of beneficiaries on a yearly basis and will keep enriching the other value-added advisory services to cater for emerging and pressing challenges women face in their businesses.”
In the same vein, the Group Head, Business Banking and SMEs of FCMB, George Ogbonnaya, said, “we understand certain factors including lack of access to prompt funding, access to market and other support systems which combine to determine the success or failure of an SME. We will continue to support our customers operating in the SMEs segment to overcome these challenges. We want to be part of their success story.”
In a bid to further enhance retail lending, Sterling Bank through its ‘Specta’ product said it targets to give out loans to the tune of N40 billion in 2019. The bank also disclosed that it would be extending facilities to non-customers, self-employed and business owners.
Speaking at a press briefing at the weekend, the Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Sterling Bank, Mr. Shina Atilola, said customers who patronise ‘Specta’ can access loans ranging from N10,000 to N5,000,000 and can access funds within five minutes through using their mobile phones thereby removing the hassles that comes with obtaining regular loans from banks. Atilola said:
“Specta has been for salary earners that have account with Sterling Bank, but from Monday 4th of February, you don’t need to have an account with Sterling Bank to be able to access loans from Sterling Bank. And also, we are guaranteeing five minutes access and experience while using Specta.”
Furthermore, he said customers from any other bank can get access to loans through Specta and that the bank was able to give out close to N10 billion in loans to over 11,000 customers and transaction in the first year in operation. He also said the bank did not record any non-performing loans during the period.
“We have zero per cent NPLs and all loans repayment are up to date and that is what gave the confidence to expand,” he said.
On her part, the Head, Value Chain Banking, Mrs. Benedicta Sadoh, while speaking on the milestones recorded since its inception last year, said:
“Last year we talked about giving out N10 billion in loans and we wanted to do a minimum of 10,000 loans however last year we did over 11,000 loans and close to N10 billion.”
“We also were able to issue out credit cards into the platform. So it wasn’t only about giving out personal loans we also did a bit of device financing through Specta. So we were able to increase our lending beyond the scope we thought it would be in 2018. For 2019, we are looking at a N40 billion mark and a minimum count of loans to be sold to 50,000 for 2019,” she added.
Source This Day