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AFDB, Fidelity Bank Sign $50m Financing Agreement For MSMEs

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Fidelity Bank Plc Tuesday signed a $50 million financing agreement, designed to boost the Nigerian bank’s impetus in promoting the growth of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) segment of the economy.

The agreement-signing ceremony in Abuja Tuesday was a formal consummation of the AfDB Board’s October 10, 2018 approval of the facility, which is totally dedicated to financing the MSMEs.

A minimum of 30 per cent of the entire facility will be devoted to wholly women-owned enterprises.

In his remarks at the ceremony in Abuja, the AfDB Senior Director/Country Representative, Ebrima Faao, who signed on behalf of his bank, said the pan-African financial institution was excited with the Fidelity Bank partnership.

“We are excited about this partnership. The lines of credit tended to be general support for SMEs. This one has strong emphasis on gender. It can be considered as a vanguard credit for us.

“Our main focus is to reach out to SMEs to give the much needed impact. We count on you to ensure that the requirement for loan disbursement is okay to enable it reach out to the target audience,” Faao said.

He had previously described Fidelity Bank as a niche player, focused on the SME space, adding that the $50 million credit line will contribute to strengthening its presence in its key market segments.

The Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mohammed Balarabe, who also signed for his bank, stated that this line of credit granted to his bank was principally targeted at the MSMEs.

In an interview with THISDAY, he said: “It’s particularly unique because gender has been brought in mainly because 30 per cent of this loan is to be targeted at MSMEs that are driven by women.

“So, that makes it unique. We are very proud to be partners,” he added.

On the criteria for determining the businesses of the 30 per cent of the loan designed for women, Balarabe said: “Obviously, they have to be run by women. Most importantly, it is aimed at businesses at that low level so that they can catalyse development in the country.”

He noted that the MSMEs sector remains the most active in terms of generating employment and fostering development.

According to him, these accounted for his bank’s consistent targeting of that segment.

“That’s why the AfDB has found us fitting to be one of the banks that will be benefiting for onward lending to MSMEs.

“Fidelity is one of the leading lenders to the segment, but for us, it’s not all about lending. Our engagement with MSMEs is more. We take time to find the needs of such businesses, and work with them on how to run the businesses,” he stated.

He disclosed that when it is absolutely necessary, Fidelity extends a line of credit to such businesses at cheap rates, which are far lower than market rates.

The $50 million AfDB facility is aimed at enhancing Fidelity Bank’s liquidity and helping to meet the demand for medium-term funding to players in the MSMEs segment.

The MSMEs, AfDB believes, account for 30 per cent of Fidelity Bank’s loan portfolio. The selection of the Nigerian bank for the seven-year credit facility, with a two-year moratorium, is based on its strong presence in the MSMEs.

It is also in recognition of the bank’s credit management and strong track record with AfDB.

It had previously received $18 million and $75 million lines of credit from the development finance institution in 2001 and 2013, respectively.

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UBA Promises To Put Customers’ Needs First As It Holds 2019 Forum In Lagos

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The pan African Financial Services Institution, United Bank for Africa(UBA) has again reiterated its commitment to surpass the expectations of its customers through the provision of products and services that meet their needs. The Bank made this promise at a special Customer Forum to mark the 2019 edition of the Customer’s Service Week.

The forum which was held at the bank’s Head Office, in Lagos, was very interactive and presented an opportunity for the management, staff, and customers to share ideas on how to improve customer-satisfaction, in line with the bank’s Customer First Philosophy.

UBA’s Group Executive, Customer Fulfilment Centre, Mr Anant Rao, who welcomed customers to the forum, explained that the bank has deliberately re-focused and re-engineered its activities to put the customers first, adding that it has been leveraging on a three-prong lever of People, Process and Technology, in a bid to ensure maximum satisfaction to the customers, without whom the bank will not exist.

He said, “The singular mission of our consistent and superior customer experience has been imbibed into the DNA of each and every staff of the bank. In this way, there is no gainsaying that Service has been institutionalized at UBA. The mantra of our Customers being our employers has been ingrained into the psyche of each and every staff.”

Also speaking, the Group Head, Marketing, Mrs Dupe Olusola, said the bank has tailored a lot of products to assist customers to thrive in their various fields, adding that there was a lot of focus on small and medium scale enterprises which are growth drivers of any growing economy.

She said, “At UBA, we are constantly thinking about you, creating personalized products you need to achieve your goals. Right from the kids, children, young adults, students to the mass retail market; SMEs; creative industry; agricultural; UBA has something for everyone, and we are here at your service all the time.”

Some of the customers who were at the event, commended the bank for the services it rendered to them, and also pointed out areas of improvement and expectation, adding that this will lead to beneficial interests to both parties.

A customer of the bank, High Chief Goddy Ulasi, who has banked with UBA for over 15 years, commended the bank for helping him and his business grow over the years and called on the bank to make rates more competitive to ensure that customers and businesses also benefit even more from the bank.

In response, the Group Head, Transaction and Electronic Banking, Mr. Sampson Aneke, said the customers remain the key focus of the bank, adding that the bank is in discussions with the key agents to ensure ease of transactions.

Earlier, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who wrote a statement on the significance of continuous excellent service delivery to customers, appreciated the staff who have worked tirelessly to satisfy customers and urged them not to rest on their oars.

“Let’s strive to put the magical touch in everything we do to create a symbolic service experience for our ‘Employer’ – the Customer!”, Uzoka said.

The theme for this year’s celebrations, “Magic Happens Here”, embodies all that the bank represents as encompassed in its Core Values – the 3EEEs: Excellence, Enterprise and Execution.

The United Bank for Africa, Africa’s global bank, was founded 70 years ago in Nigeria and today, operates in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the USA and with presence in France. UBA serves over 17 million customers across the globe with more than 1000 branches and touchpoints. In 2018, the bank received the award of Africa’s Best Digital Bank by the Banker’s magazine

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Zenith Bank Drives Convenient Banking And Financial Inclusion With Z-Money

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Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Zenith Bank Plc, has introduced Z-Money, which brings banking services closer to its customers and enhance financial inclusion among the under-banked and unbanked populace of the country.

Z-Money is an agency banking product of the bank which entails the onboarding of agents who are expected to render basic financial services on behalf of the bank.

Through the bank’s network of agents spread across the urban and rural communities in the country, customers are able to open accounts, deposit cash into any account, withdraw cash from any bank account, transfer funds, buy airtime, pay bills, and do so much more in a convenient way. In order to engender trust among its customers, the Bank ensures that all transactions done through the agents are PIN protected and safe.

Commenting on the new product, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said “the bank remains focused on providing premium financial solutions that create value for its customers wherever they are located across the country”. He added that apart from helping to extend the bank’s retail reach across all segments of the market, the adoption of the agency banking platform also demonstrates the bank’s commitment to achieving financial inclusion in the country.

Zenith Bank Plc is recognized as one of the most innovative financial institutions in Nigeria and was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the Retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

The bank’s commitment to world-class service standards has led to several product innovations over the last few weeks including the “Zenith Timeless Account”, which allows Nigerians aged 55 years and above bank for free, the “Zenith Save4me”, a high-interest target savings account and “Dubai Visa Service” on the Zenith Internet Banking Platform, which allows convenient application and payment for visas to Dubai.

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The Next Titan Season-6: Heritage Bank Continues To Boosts Entrepreneurship Among Youths

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has again thrown its usual support behind the organizer of The Next Titan, so as to have a better and improved season six of the programme.

This year’s edition of the reality TV show is again headlined by Heritage Bank and is targeted at giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to display their ingenuity and talents.

The programme, which also, focuses on ensuring that the entrepreneurial goals of the Nigerian youths are achieved, had its auditions in four of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Speaking during the audition at the Sheba Event Centre in Lagos, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that the Heritage Bank has continued to make seamless efforts to demonstrate its commitment towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasingly competitive workforce.

“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the entrepreneurial growth and welfare of the youths is to see young men and women play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” Sekibo said.

The MD, who was represented by the Head, Brand Management & Sustainability, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ozena Utulu, said Heritage Bank is positioned to lead the recovery of the economy through enhancing youth entrepreneurship development and engendering self-employment via its various initiatives and products.

According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations. He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank has always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as the agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining, and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and ICT.
Sekibo stated that the bank supported this initiative because of its belief in Nigerian youth, who make up about 80 percent of the country’s population. He further explained that Heritage Bank was impressed with the nature in which talents were sought out, the rigorous selection process and the integrity with which the overall scheme was delivered.

Sekibo expressed satisfaction in the long term sustainability of the initiative, stating, we will not support something that will not stand the test of time.

The Executive Producer, The Next Titan, and Managing Director, Bravopoints International Limited, Mide Kunle-Akinlaja explained, “the idea behind the next titans is to create a Nigeria of our dreams, the roll calls of entrepreneurs with businessmen and women who will boost the nation’s economy and become employers of labour. It is not just an ordinary show but a show that transforms lives.”

According to him, The Next Titan over the past five years has been the only major entrepreneurial reality show in Nigeria, which provides an opportunity for young aspiring entrepreneurs with good business ideas that can transform the economy to compete among themselves on television in order to win a grand cash prize and a brand new car to start their dreams.

He noted that it was a platform designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the generality of young Nigerians who may not have the opportunity to participate directly through its regional auditions, but who can watch the TV show, and who can, as a result, take a decision to ply the route of entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

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