Capital is crucial in driving sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs’) growth and uplifting the economy. First Bank of Nigeria Limited, as part of the launch of its specialised SMEs’ propositions, has continually supported SMEs through diverse initiatives. The bank says its support for SMEs is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on improved funding for SMEs to ensure economic growth and development.
The economies of great nations thrive on the strength and performance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) seen as an engine of growth.
For Nigeria, the Central Bank (CBN) defines SMEs as enterprises with an asset base (excluding land) of between N5 million and N500 million and labour force of 11 and 300 people.
The benefits of funding SMEs have attracted many banks with an eye on the future to invest and support SMEs in the interest of the economy.
For SMEs to achieve these goals, operators’ easy access to credit must be promoted. First Bank of Nigeria Limited is one of the banks that are investing and supporting SMEs. Following research by the bank over the years, it identified these seven strategic pillars that are essential to the sustainability and growth of SMEs.
These include access to infrastructure, access to talent, capacity building, policy and regulation, access to resources, access to market as well as access to finance.
The bank has also held its SMEs’ Week in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, and Owerri. The week-long event was rounded off with a live webinar, facilitated by Gbenga Shobo, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director.
According to Shobo, FirstBank has, over the years, been at the forefront of supporting businesses, especially SMEs, as we recognise that SMEs are the engine of the economy.
We are committed to ensuring that we leave no stone unturned as we connect with them in their continued contribution to national development in terms of the employment opportunities they create as well as their contribution to the nation’s GDP amongst many economic values.
“The FirstBank SME Week is driven to promote the Bank’s SME proposition, thereby having SMEs across the country optimally enlightened on how to plugin. We believe this will help SMEs bolster their contribution to the growth and development of the economy.”
The 2019 Nigeria banking industry customer experience survey report recently published by KPMG Nigeria showed that in the retail segment, the top two performers have remained the same for the fourth consecutive year.
GTBank, Zenith Bank are top-rated banks in the 2019 ranking. Sterling Bank, FirstBank, and UBA are the biggest movers in 2019, coming in third, fifth and seventh places.
Commitment to fashion and entrepreneurship
FirstBank sponsored the Sixth Africa Fashion Week, which held last December in Lagos.
The event themed ‘’Africa Unites’’ was a convergence of fashion entrepreneurs and the public to promote the creativity and innovation of Nigerian and African brands through worldwide visibility, distribution, and manufacturing.
Dignitaries at the event include wives of the Ekiti, Ogun and Kwara state governors, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun and Mrs. Folake Abdulrazaq. The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; former Director-General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Mrs. Omotayo Omotosho; television presenter and model, Idia Aisen; model and beauty influencer, Whitney Madueke were also there. FirstBank was represented by Helen Ogboh, Business Manager, Corporate Banking.
Speaking on FirstBank’s sponsorship of the event, the Bank’s Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, said: “We are pleased to identify with Africa Fashion Week Nigeria as it showcases creativity by African fashion designers to the teeming public, leading players and enthusiasts of African fashion while promoting their contribution to the growth of the fashion industry.
“We will continue to drive advocacy for this as it can create jobs that will deepen opportunities for the revival of our textile industry resulting in SMEs’growth along the value chains especially, with the growing demand in the fashion industry.”
Recently, the bank promoted the use of local fabrics with a ‘What If’ campaign to commemorate the country’s Independence. It ran across the social media channels, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, focusing on the creativity of sewing local fabrics as a national symbol vis-a-vis our outfits, clothing accessories, household furniture, in line with the bank’s celebratory 125th Anniversary, themed, “Woven into the Fabric of Society”.
Ani-Mumuney said the bank would continue to empower the society, including the support for small businesses and the promotion of the growth of the entertainment industry.
Also, on the list of fashion sponsorship credentials of the Bank is the Fashion Souk, as well as Street Souk organized in partnership with Eventful Limited. Ani-Mumuney said “Street Souk was designed to encourage the youth to channel their talents to genres as music, arts, and fashion. It’s a platform that identifies opportunities, which promote the innovative spirit in youngsters.
She noted that Street Souk was tied to the FirstBank’s initiative to empower the society, including small business owners. According to her, the initiative is also tied to the promotion of the entertainment industry.
Manager XIIG Glover, a merchant at the Street Souk, Mr Obembe Abiola, said he was happy to be part of last year’s (2019) street trading.
“We are here to showcase what we also have as a brand which is African made and to reach out to people to know about the brand. Last year (in 2018), we were also here and it was a great time out to meet up with new clients, customers and to meet up with other brands and this year is a lot more better than last year. We are large in number, new faces and everything is going on fine,” Abiola said. He commended FirstBank for organising the event aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship.
Also, Creative Director, Dmf Designs & Shopwith5k, Adebayo Bankole, a participant, said she was glad to showcase her brand to people. “I have finally found my target audience here, people that are interested in street Souk culture in Nigeria. They are my target audience,” Bankole said.
She stated that sales had been very amazing and that it was worth-while being part of this year’s Street Souk.
“I really appreciate the fact that FirstBank is doing this because most banks go for Ankara or made- in-Nigeria but this is promoting a different culture in Nigeria. Street trading is not common in Nigeria, the fact that FirstBank is able to support the promotion of street Souk in Nigeria is amazing,” Bankole added.
The bank also said it would remain committed to the Federal Government’s diversification drive with the development of agricultural value chain to boost employment.
FirstBank’s Chairman, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, stated this at last year’s edition of ‘Food Souk’, an event the Bank convened in partnership with Eventful Limited, an events management firm.
Mrs Awosika said the bank would continue to support the agricultural value chain from production to consumption to create opportunities for SMEs in the food sector to create job opportunities. “As you have noticed, we have been doing a chain of Souks with Eventful. It is critical for the economy of the nation that we encourage the SMEs sector across different industries,” she said.
According to her, the Food Souk was introduced to diversify the economy through agricultural development. “When we have 200 million people, food is big business because everybody will eat. So, what we are trying to do is in support of the nation’s building. We are seeking to encourage small, medium and big enterprises in different sectors of the economy.
“One is to help create jobs because if we think that 65 per cent of our population is made up of people under 40 years and the highest unemployment rate is within the segment that is between 20 and 35, so you need to create jobs.
“But you will only create jobs when you create entrepreneurs, as we create more businesses you are creating job opportunities,” Mrs Awosika said.
She added that the bank’s focused on the growth of the economy with the hope it would benefit from it as a provider of financial services. “As we grow the economy, as we build lives of Nigerians, as we support the government’s investment in the diversification of the economy and help to create jobs through the enterprises we will ultimately benefit,” Mrs Awosika stated.
The Chairman said FirstBank, the largest retail bank in the country, would continue to support growth and development of SMEs. “A lot of big businesses of today that grew in Nigeria are businesses we supported from scratch. “We are starting with different generations of new businesses and events like this help you to see the trends. It helps you to see the companies that need nurturing.
“It helps you to see the companies that you can support. It also gives you information about how you can best support them and engage them in their terrain to see businesses and understand their feelings to create the kind of product that will support their businesses,” Mrs Awosika said.
A food vendor, Ms Ijeoma Ebeneme, the Chief Executive Officer, JEM N Iris, commended FirstBank for putting the event together. Ebeneme said she was at the fair to make profit, meet new clients as well as create the needed publicity for her brand. Food Souk, formerly known as Fiesta of Flavours, is a food and wine fair, that holds yearly at Harbour Point in Victoria Island, Lagos, since its premier edition in 2015.
The fun food and beverage fair hosted by Eventful and sponsored by FirstBank provides an avenue for attendees to experience the entertainment, art and business of food. It showcases the best in local and international cuisine, cutting-edge food technology and cooking techniques, and the best beverages, wines and spirits the world offers. It provides management and training seminars, food demonstrations and performances.
The payday revolution from Fidelity Bank is here
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FirstBank begins the year with an innovative, convenient virtual payment card
The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a safe, convenient, and easy way of making e-commerce payments amongst other functionalities.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider has launched the Virtual Payment card, a Naira denominated debit card and digital representation of the plastic debit card. The card is designed to be linked to either a customer’s operative account or wallet account.
The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a suitable alternative to the use of cash and cheques, with its wide-range features which include the ability of cardholders to protect his/her card using the block and unblock capabilities; PIN Reset; Change PIN as well as view statement at one’s convenience. It also enables diaspora customers to spend from his/her FirstBank account within the spend limit advised by the bank without the need for a physical card.
The FirstBank Virtual Payment Card is a safe, convenient, and easy way of making e-commerce payments amongst other functionalities.
The Virtual Payment Card can be created via the Bank’s leading digital channels; FirstMobile or Firstmonie Wallet applications. Customers can download the card, activate the card and consummate transactions all at once from the comfort of their homes/offices. No branch visit is required. Customers are advised to update their mobile application to the latest version, then select Card Services on the FirstMobile App and My Virtual Card application to create a Virtual Card at the cost of N215 (VAT Inclusive).
Speaking on the launch, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said ‘the launch of our Virtual Payment Card is yet another secure and seamless way we promote electronic banking, whilst enabling customers to carry-out their transactions on the web”
“The Virtual Payment Card is also designed to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 as it does not require physical interaction between the customer and FirstBank Branches. We enjoin our customers to download the application and stay ahead in modern banking,” he concluded.
Similarly, FirstBank recently launched the FAST Track ATM, the next-generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM without any form of physical interaction with the machine.
For more information on the Virtual Payment Card, kindly click here for the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 126 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 86,300 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Forex trading in Nigeria – A beginner’s guide
It is believed that Nigerian forex traders trade positions worth at least $1.25 million on average every day.
The foreign exchange market is more commonly known as the forex market. It is the financial market involved with the trading of currencies. It is the largest financial market in the world where trading volumes of more than $5 trillion occur daily.
These trades are executed over the counter, more commonly referred to as OTC. This means that transactions are executed around the world through online computer networks. In addition to being the largest market, the forex market is also the most liquid and volatile.
Liquidity refers to the ease with which an asset or a security can be converted into cash without it affecting its market price. Market volatility refers to the velocity of price changes which occur in any market.
The liquidity and volatility of the market is as a result of the significant amount of forex trades which occur daily and higher liquidity also results in lower transaction costs, a benefit for all traders.
Nigerian traders have access to the forex market 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, with the added benefit that trading can be done despite the trader’s time zone. This due to the fact once one market closes, another will open while some are open due to the overlap in time zones.
When considering forex trading specifically in Nigeria, forex trading has become easier in the country. The past decade reflects substantial economic growth as well as an increase in disposable income.
Nigeria is one of the most prosperous countries in Africa and it is believed that Nigerian forex traders trade positions worth at least $1.25 million on average every day.
There are also more brokers that are welcoming Nigerian traders in registering an account on their platform, allowing beginners and experts to connect to global markets.
The Basics – What all Beginner Nigerian Traders Must know
One of the most common mistakes that beginner traders make often is not ensuring that they have adequate forex trading knowledge. Before approaching the forex market, Nigerian beginner traders must ensure that they consult adequate educational resources to build up their knowledge.
One of the most basic areas to begin is learning common forex terms and their definitions. This will help Nigerian traders understand the forex ‘jargon’ that they will be exposed to from the get-go when they start trading.
Some of the terms that traders are more likely to see include the following:
- Base currency – this refers to the currency that the trader is currently holding, in this case, the Nigerian Naira. The base currency always appears first in a currency pair.
- Quote currency – this is the currency that the trader will purchase. The quote currency always appears second in a pair.
- Bid/Ask Price – the bid price refers to the price at which the broker is willing to buy the base currency. The ask price is the price that the broker will ask the trader in exchange for buying the quote currency of choice.
- Spread – the spread is the difference between the bid and the ask price which is expressed in pips. The spread is charged by the broker as payment for rendering services. There are floating/variable spreads which change with market conditions and fixed spreads which are determined by the broker.
- Pip – this stands for ‘Percentage in Point’. It is the smallest measurable value of currency movements and the smallest increment that a price can move. One pip is equal to 1/100th of the base currency of the trader.
In addition to this, another imperative educational tool is a demo account. Numerous brokers offer them to traders. A demo account provides a risk-free platform to traders where they can practice trading in an environment which mimics live trading conditions, without risking actual capital.
Why you should develop a forex trading plan
All traders who intend to be successful have a trading plan. It consists of a set of rules and guidelines that shapes and defines the trading behaviour of a trader.
Nigerian beginner traders must ensure that they evaluate their needs, goals, and limitations before they start trading. This will ensure that they do not give in to emotional or chaotic trading and ensures that they have a clear goal and objective in mind.
Trading plans also help traders manage their risks more effectively.
How to choose a trading strategy
Once Nigerian beginner traders have a better idea of what they want to achieve through their forex trading and what they are limited to, they can start looking at the different forex trading strategies to use when trading, or they can develop their own.
The trading strategy must be chosen according to the trading style of the trader and it must be in line with the trader’s trading plan. One of the main considerations when choosing a trading strategy is the personality of the trader.
This is because it will be assessed by performance as well as quality of historical data, and the implementation of the strategy. Factors such as time management, dedication, commitment, patience, and others are imperative when choosing a strategy.
You might like: Latest Africa Forex Trading Stats ( 2020 )
How to choose the right forex broker
When Nigerian traders start considering a broker to facilitate their trades, there are key factors to consider, including:
- Knowing your needs as a trader such as education, research, trading strategy provision, trading tools, and more.
- Regulation – beginners must ensure that they only deal with regulated brokers to ensure the safety of their funds
- Fees and commissions – Traders must ensure that they understand their financials and what they can spend and afford to lose. Here, traders must consider the trading and non-trading fees.
- Testing the broker’s platform by opening a demo account.
- Make sure that the broker offers adequate education and research.
- Look at the ease with which funds can be deposited and withdrawn.
- Test and evaluate the level of customer service.
What drives the forex market and why is observation important?
When traders start out, they must realize that there are factors that drive the prices and exchange rates in the forex market. These include, but is not limited to:
- Central Banks
- News Reports
- Mark Sentiment, and numerous others.
By staying up to date with news and other reports, traders can more effectively begin to anticipate what the market may do while making extensive use of both fundamental and technical analysis to assist them in trading decisions.