First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its variety of retail products specifically designed to enhance the operations and sustenance of various businesses in the country.
The products: Petroleum Dealership Finance (PDF), Operational Vehicle Finance (OVF) and Commercial Mortgage will strengthen the capacity of businesses to meet their immediate and long-term needs which are required to continually impact the socio-economic development of the country.
Commercial Mortgage (CM) is designed to meet the funding needs of established small and medium-scale enterprises in viable businesses to acquire Business/Office Premises. This product is structured to part finance the acquisition of business /office premises and warehouses as the building itself is collateral. With its competitive pricing entailing a tenor of 60 months, flexible repayment period as well as flexible collateral structure, the product is designed for SMEs across different sectors of the country including accounting, tech, legal and other specialised disciplines. To access the product, customers must have been in business for at least 5years and must have maintained an active account with either FirstBank or any reputable bank for a minimum of 6 months.
Operational Vehicle Finance (OVF) is intended to provide part finance to ease the acquisition of brand-new vehicle(s) essential for the day-to-day running of business activities. Its flexible tenure is in 2 variants, comprising 1 – 24 months and 2 – 36 months which is dependent on the brand of the vehicle.
The product is also designed for SMEs as well as traders in all sectors of the economy with verifiable cash flow as they will be at an advantage in sustaining the distribution of goods from one location to another. To be eligible for the service, the customer must have been in business for at least 12 months and should have maintained a healthy and active bank account with either FirstBank for a minimum of 6 months or 12 months with other banks.
Petroleum Dealership Finance (PDF) is created to offer working capital finance to filling stations with a DPR licence for the purchase of kerosene (DPK), petrol (PMS), and diesel (AGO). This product facilitates access to financing opportunities to purchase products at competitive rates. A 12months facility tenor with a cash flow lending option up to N20M is also available. The product is packed with lots of exciting benefits including access to up to N20million without providing tangible collateral as it bridges the customers’ liquidity gap while also aiding the continuous replenishment of stock. The product also provides the opportunity to increase the volume of business as well as margins through consistent growth in turnover through credit financing.
To take advantage of the product, interested customer(s) must have a valid DPR license, and maintain an account relationship with FirstBank or any bank for at least 6 months. The dealer must have been in business for at least 24 months and the account must have been operated satisfactorily without a history of returned cheques or previous default on facility or facilities granted.
According to Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank: “as a bank woven into the fabric of society, we are delighted with the indelible mark and role we have played in boosting businesses in the country, irrespective of the economic sector. Our Commercial Mortgage (CM), Operational Vehicle Finance (OVF) and Petroleum Dealership Finance (PDF) are integral to sustainably enhancing business operations while ensuring that our customers remain at an advantage in meeting their immediate and long-term business goals.”
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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