FCMB steps up commitment to SMEs

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By Peter Egwuatu
FIRST City Monument Bank (FCMB), Plc has indicated its commitment towards supporting growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, as a way towards actualizing Nigeria’s economic growth potentials.

According to a statement from the bank, it has put in place, various initiatives and capacity building programmes that would fast-track growth of SMEs, while up-scaling their contributions to the development of the country. Apart from training sessions organised for small business owners, the bank said it would be bringing its professional expertise closer to the people by having dedicated SME Loan Officers at some of its branches nationwide.

These officers, according to the statement, are trained and equipped to provide SMEs with the best and most effective advice and support. The bank stated: ‘‘We have established an empowerment programme, called Cluster Marketing, for operators of SMEs. The initiative was designed to enhance their financial, marketing and management skills.”

Speaking on the strides of FCMB in the MSMEs space, Divisional Head, Retail, Mr. Olu Akanmu, stated: ‘‘SMEs are the bedrock of any country’s economic development. It can hardly make good progress except the SMEs excel. Therefore, being a forward looking bank with the appropriate desire for growth, we have decided to provide this sector with maximum support.”

He advised SMEs to re-examine their operations and effectively position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities within the country.
“There are huge intervention funds from both government and multi-national agencies focused on supporting SMEs. Some are focused on helping with affordability.

In other words, reducing the cost of borrowing, while others are focused on accessibility, in other words helping to mitigate those risks that make small and medium scale businesses fail credit acceptance tests or requirements.
‘‘Unfortunately, a good number of the outfits do not know the difference and therefore adopt the same strategy for accessing both,” he stated.

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