Women in Business at First City Monument Bank Limited (FCMB) have initiated a zero-interest rate on loans to support grow and expand small and medium enterprises in the country.
The zero-interest-rate loan targets female business owners in Nigeria who are in need of affordable and convenient funding to boost their respective businesses in a country where small and medium businesses are believed to be deprived of low-interest rate loan opportunity.
The development is in line with the commitment of the bank to empower women-owned SMEs (existing and starting) through financial support and advisory and value-added products to enhance customer experience and overall contribution to the growth of the country.
The bank continues to roll out initiatives that support local businesses. Recently, FCMB created Hub One, a tech-themed co-working space that allows for partnerships, collaborations, and possible investments. It is a professional office space with unmetered internet, constant power supply, free coffee and a community of like minds.
Under FCMB’s Business Banking Group, a desk has been established to attend to the yearnings of female business owners in Nigeria, and the office has been equipped with highly professional personnel to meet the needs of this segment.
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.”
Time factor and selection process
The zero-interest rate scheme is periodical. The Bank explained that the initiative has a timeframe of three months. 80 women every quarter would have access to mentorship and training and 40 of these women will benefit from the loan. In all, in a period of one year, 320 women will be mentored, while 160 women would benefit from the loan.
Aside from the loan, participating female customers would also undergo capacity building programmes through training, and receive financial advisory services.
Reasons behind the loan initiative
The Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Bukola Smith said the lender recognises the role of women in business development, job, and wealth creation, and their effort in eradicating poverty around their environment. Adding that women have transformed into key contributors in social and economic growth.
“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”.
FCMB has been active this year 2019, and among its activities was the change of name in the pension management arm of its business. Formerly known as Legacy Pension Managers Limited, the leading financial services holding company’s fund managers firm will now be known as FCMB Pensions Limited.