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FirstBank restates commitment to SMEs


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By Ada Anioji


The Nigeria-originating financial institution, FirstBank is set to further expand its portfolio of support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs.

According to the Bank’s spokesperson, Folake Ani-Mumuney, the Bank is committed to supporting its customers with customised products and services designed to ensure a continuous success story for every SME.

In a statement made available to The Difference, Ani-Mumuney explained that in the view of the lender, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) are considered pivotal to national development, However, to what extent do they play this role in ensuring the sustainable economic growth of the nation, especially at a time when the Nigerian government is looking to diversify its income stream. Presently, there are many SME entrepreneurs with a myriad of unaccomplished aspirations and deflated business goals

She therefore opined that the bank has over the years demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the business success of SMEs in Nigeria. According to her, the Bank presently has a cocktail of products and bespoke solutions, specifically designed to help grow and sustain SMEs; enable them play out their business scripts as well as fulfill their goals and aspirations. In addition, the Bank offers advisory services that are tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of their SME customers.

Some of the Bank’s SME products include: Contract and Invoice Discounting Finance – This enables the SME seamlessly fund bigger contracts. The product is designed to finance contractors who need immediate funding for working capital requirements while awaiting payment for goods/services supplied or contracts executed for reputable companies.

The Import and Export Finance is another product that helps the customer finance imports and exports as well as track all transactions. The Import Finance Facility would provide a structured and controllable mechanism through which the Bank may provide finance to trading companies to support the importation of goods. FirstBank also uses the Payments and Collections Solutions to facilitate effective money collection from distributors and customers of SMEs. With these solutions, 3rd party payments can now be made with ease. The Key Distributorship Finance is another vital product designed to ensure SMEs never run out of stock as well as the timely execution of all customer orders.
With a bouquet of bespoke products and services, FirstBank is set to place SMEs ahead of their competition through collaborations with the business owners to provide flexible and dependable services, helping each SME fulfill life time dreams for their businesses.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, is reputed as being Nigeria’s leading financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings and one of the largest corporate and retail banking financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). Since its establishment in 1894, the Bank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, risk management and strong capitalization.

The Bank operates an extensive distribution network with over 750 business locations (623 branches, 61 quick service points and 69 cash centers/agencies), over 2,600 ATM’s and over 10 million customer accounts. It also provides a comprehensive range of financial services and has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank DR Congo, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone and FBNBank Senegal as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.

FirstBank is the recipient of many awards. The Bank has been named “The Best Bank Brand in Nigeria” five times in a row – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 – by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group. FirstBank’s brand purpose is to always put its stakeholders, customers and partners at the heart of its business, even as it is poised to standardize customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across Sub Saharan Africa, in consonance with its brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. The brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on the FirstBank’s inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position its customers first in every respect.

For three consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014, FirstBank was named the “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards. Other recent awards include the “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence, “Best Bank in West Africa” and “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” in the African Banker Awards, “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards for the fourth time, “Best Foreign Exchange Services in Africa” in the EMEA Finance Treasury Services Awards, “Best Banking Group in Nigeria” by World Finance Banking Awards, and “Best Financial Reporting Company” by Africa Investor.

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