Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria can now enjoy banking services without charges. This is because First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has introduced free banking transactions for a period of three months for new-to-FCMB customers operating in the SMEs segment. This offering, which began on February 1, 2017 to end in April, is aimed at encouraging Nigerians to take active interest in entrepreneurship, while also assisting new and existing SMEs to overcome some of the challenges they usually face, especially at the take-off stage.
In a statement, the leading financial services provider explained that to qualify for the free three months banking incentive, an SME is required to open an FCMB Business Account and sign-up for a business debit card at any of its over 200 branches spread across the country. The benefits of this value-added offering include no banking charges on local transactions, free account maintenance and monthly flat charges, free cheque books, free printing of account statements and free bank drafts.
According to the Divisional Head, Retail Banking of FCMB, Mr. Olu Akanmu, three months free banking from FCMB to SMEs is another demonstration of the bank’s value as a helpful financial institution committed to helping businesses to thrive in these challenging times. He stated that, “FCMB is committed to helping Nigerians and their businesses to succeed even in these challenging times. We support them with simple, easy to use transactional products and services that help them to manage their cash and collections efficiently while supporting them in their aspirations to build successful businesses.”
While assuring that the bank will continue to develop solutions to support its customers, he urged SMEs to effectively position their operations by taking advantage of the unique opportunities in the FCMB free three months banking as a springboard to take their businesses to the next level.
With statistics showing that about 20 million SMEs are registered in Nigeria, FCMB has continued to offer products, services and other incentives to stimulate and deepen such businesses in a sustainable manner. The lender is one of the top participating banks appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to drive the N220 billion development fund instituted by the apex regulatory institution to provide loans to SMEs.
In the last one and half years, FCMB disbursed over N3 billion to SMEs as against N122 million it provided as funding support as at the end of February 2015.
Beyond the funding, FCMB has championed and executed various initiatives, including capacity building programmes that have fast-tracked the growth of SMEs in Nigeria. Apart from training sessions organised for owners of SMEs, the bank has brought its professional expertise closer to the people by having dedicated loan officers at some of its branches nationwide. These officers are trained and equipped to provide SMEs with the best and most effective advice and support.
In addition, FCMB has established an empowerment programme called Cluster Marketing for operators of SMEs. The initiative is designed to enhance their financial, marketing and management skills. In the same vein, FCMB has been aggressively supporting women-managed businesses in line with the MSME fund scheme by collaborating with women involved in SMEs through funding, sponsorship and advisory services.