First City Monument Bank (FCMB) at the weekend explained that its increased and consistent support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) is aimed at further empowering them to take the lead in the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy.
According to the Bank, this is because SMEs are one of the key drivers of the country’s push for economic prosperity due to their potential to create jobs, reduce poverty, boost production and economic activities.
Towards this end, the lender 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 holds 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.
It would be recalled that a recent survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) indicate that SMEs in Nigeria accounts for about 96 percent of registered businesses, employ about 84 percent of the entire labour force and contribute 48 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
FCMB, as one of the leading financial powerhouses 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.
These are access to capital, capacity building, advisory services, networking opportunity and technology.
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.
Mr. George Ogbonnaya, Group Head, Business Banking of the Bank, while commenting on the significance of the International SMEs Day and commitment of FCMB to businesses, said the Day is very important to the financial institution as a major operator in the global business community.
According to him, “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”.
He added that “we are also inspired by the fact that our market leading propositions and support to SMEs have consistently made a real impact on businesses and the economy in general. We will continue to provide the right platform and opportunities to empower our customers to take their businesses to greater heights”.
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.
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 N23billion loan guarantee support to SMEs with inadequate collateral coverage or those in the start-up stage.
The Bank has also taken the lead in digitisation by automating its lending process for SMEs through the FCMB Quick loans platform. Through this channel, the lender has so far disbursed more than N90billion 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.
Zenith Bank Signs MOU With CFA Institute to Develop Finance and Investment Professionals
Zenith Bank Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute to promote efforts and activities that support the formation, training, and updating of human capital in finance and investment for the overall development of the Nigerian financial services sector.
The MoU, was signed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu; the President/CEO of the CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin; and the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu commended the CFA Institute and the CFA Society, Nigeria for their laudable programmes in developing finance and investment professionals in Nigeria.
According to him, your Women in Investment Management Initiative, CFA Institute Research Challenge, CFA Society Nigeria Ethics Challenge and University Affiliation Program are very laudable, and Zenith Bank will continue to partner with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria to ensure that young finance and investment professionals get the needed support for their career development.
In his words, “As a good corporate citizen, Zenith Bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural and social development of the society. As such, we continue to support projects and initiatives that have long-term social and economic benefits for our various publics and stakeholders. Partnering with the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Nigeria is therefore a demonstration of our commitment to building professional excellence in the finance services industry in Nigeria”.
At the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference, during the ‘Journey to the Top: A Discourse with CEOs’ segment, Dr. Onyeagwu inspired future finance and investment professionals to uphold the highest standards of integrity.
He stressed the importance of making difficult yet high-quality decisions, building robust networks, and dedicating themselves to hard work for career success.
In his words, “as upcoming professionals, the opportunities are immense for you. Africa doesn’t get bigger than Nigeria. There is scarcity of the right kind of people that have the talent, that have the character and the leadership to provide leadership in organizations. Make a decision to be one of those, make a decision to be different. You must be driven by your passion; you must delay gratification. In Zenith what is driving us is the strive for excellence. It is not about who you are and where you come from. We have the best class of talents you can think of anywhere in the world.”
He assured the young finance and investment professionals that Zenith Bank will offer immediate employment opportunity to CFA Charter Holders and those who qualify as Chartered Accountants.
Also speaking on the MoU, the President/CEO, CFA Institute, Margaret Franklin reiterated the Institute’s commitment to the professional development of students and upcoming professionals.
In her words, “there are many things that we do for students, we invest heavily in students and why is that? Because they are our future. The mission of the CFA Institute is to lead the investment industry with the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society and that starts with our CFA programme”.
She commended Zenith Bank for its continued support to the CFA Society Nigeria and sponsorship of the CFA Institute Research Challenge over the years.
She also commended the bank for being one of the top employers of CFA members in the country. She expressed her admiration of the culture of excellence in Zenith Bank.
Also speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, the President of CFA Society Nigeria, Ibukun Oyedeji commended Zenith Bank for its partnership with CFA Society Nigeria and its commitment to the development of young finance professionals in the country.
The the CFA Institute Africa Investment Conference is being hosted by the CFA Institute and CFA Societies from Ghana, East Africa, South Africa and Mauritius. The conference has representatives from over 20 universities in Nigeria (members of their investment clubs being supported by CFA Society).
FirstBank UK Enhances Fixed-Income Workflow Through Bloomberg Integration
FirstBank UK, the UK subsidiary of First Bank Nigeria Limited, has announced its onboarding on Bloomberg’s Trade Order Management System (TOMS) to enhance its fixed-income workflow.
The integration with TOMS is expected to provide FirstBank UK with access to a comprehensive suite of data and analytics, communications, order, and execution management solutions, streamlining its fixed-income bonds business.
As a niche market-maker for its customers in Africa, FirstBank UK plays a vital role in providing market liquidity in cash bonds, particularly in Nigerian, Angolan, Egyptian, and Ghanaian Eurobonds, to manage risk and optimize its inventory.
Olukorede Adenowo, CEO-designate at FirstBank UK, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, stating, “Bloomberg TOMS provides FirstBank UK with a complete end-to-end trading workflow covering African bonds in most of our home markets. The solution enables us to focus on expanding our footprint in the African Fixed Income landscape and deliver a first-in-kind service to our customers in Africa.”
Bloomberg’s TOMS is renowned for enhancing operational efficiency across enterprises. Lisa Bravo, Global Head of Sell-Side OMS at Bloomberg, commented, “We are pleased to help FirstBank UK enhance operational efficiency across its enterprise with our award-winning sell-side order management solution TOMS.”
FirstBank UK had previously digitized its order management workflow by offering clients access to liquidity on its Eurobond Single-Dealer Platform.
The recent integration with Bloomberg TOMS aims to centralize order handling, aggregated custom analytics, and liquidity tools within a single interface, facilitating real-time access to liquidity for customers.
Robert Hagenaars, Head of Markets at FirstBank UK, highlighted the unique feature of real-time access to liquidity in their markets, providing a distinct advantage for their customers.
This move signifies FirstBank UK’s commitment to leveraging advanced technological solutions to fortify its position in the African Fixed Income market and deliver enhanced services to its clientele.
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