First Bank of Nigeria Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) to support small- scale enterprises.
According to Bisi Onasanya, Group Managing Director, First Bank, the MoU is in furtherance of the bank’s support for SMEs, and it is meant to promote the growth and development of SME industries and industrialists in Nigeria.
Onasanya said: “This MoU also supports the bank’s strategic focus on financial inclusion as it would mitigate the challenges of credit delivery to the unbanked market segment through mobilised funds which will avail credit facilities to registered NASSI members at concessionary rate.
“In addition to warehousing and disbursing mobilised deposits, First Bank is also committed to support NASSI through business advisory services, capacity building and development of relevant IT infrastructure as well as the issuance of our bio-metric identity card to all NASSI members.”
He added that the scheme would be administered by the bank, pointing out that the loan would be given out at single digit rates.
He said, “You can rest assured that the bank has immeasurable capacity to deliver on this business partnership, given our 118-year heritage and business practices which have sustained First Bank as the number one bank in Nigeria in various financial metrics such as total gross earnings, total assets, total loans and total deposits.
“First Bank has always been at the forefront of innovative financial services solutions and we have in place a world-class IT infrastructure to support our business activities online real-time. We are also the first bank in Nigeria to begin the biometric solution, which supports financial inclusion and further secures the transaction of our customers. We are indeed pleased to support NASSI with these innovations.”
Olusegun Aganga, Minister, Trade and Investment, said the scheme was designed to enhance SMEs and the agricultural sector.
He said, “SMEs all over the world provide the highest employments. The likes of Steve Jobs and our own Aliko Dangote started like this. They will not have gone to that level if they did not have access to finance. We know the lack of access to finance is a major factor to SME problems.”