First Bank, Oyo launch loan scheme for women

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Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

The Oyo State Government and First Bank Nigeria Limited on Tuesday launched a gender-focused flexible loan scheme specially designed to empower women entrepreneurs in the state.

Present at the event was the wife of the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Florence, who said she was excited that the scheme had come to the state after she witnessed its official launch in Lagos State.

The Chairman, First Bank, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said with the scheme, tagged FirstGem, account holders in their personal and business endeavours would be able to optimise the bundled value propositions of the product.

She said, “These include free business advisory services to access bank loan and single digit loan from designated intervention funds that support socio-economic empowerment of women.

Such funds include the Central Bank of Nigeria N200bn fund of which 60 per cent is dedicated for women entrepreneurs, and the Bank of Industry’s fashion fund, cottage fund and so on.”

She explained that holders would also receive regular information on business opportunities in various sectors and industries, specialised training on business development initiatives for capacity building, and huge discounts at merchant outlets like grocery stores, event centers and book stores that offer lifestyle products and services. Beneficiaries will also get annual health checks through accredited health service agencies.

“It is available to all women aged 18 years and above, whether working professionals or entrepreneurs and it comes in two variants; savings and current account. FirstGem includes benefits which empower women to achieve their financial goals and aspirations.  With FirstGem, our female customers, corporate and business women, are also able to access soft loans to grow their business,” she added.

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