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First Bank of Nigeria Limited loaned N455 billion to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the 2022 financial year.

Its Chief Risk Officer Olusegun Alebiosu, made this known during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Lagos between the bank and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on SMEs’ growth and development.

He noted that the partnership between both parties would enable them promote businesss for the MSMEs and enhance digitisation and development of the sub-sector.

“At First Bank, we understand the critical roles that SMEs (small and medium-scale enterprises) play in the growth of a nation’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) through diversification of the economy, job creation, wealth distribution, and social stability,” he said.

“I commend the amazing work that SMEDAN is doing with the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub sector in Nigeria. Your mandate of linking MSMEs to internal and external sources of finance, appropriate technology, and technical skills is one of the biggest motivations that inspired us to embark on this partnership engagement,” he said.

“The partnership will also enable our Bank and SMEDAN to accelerate the digitization and ultimately, development of the SME sub-sector towards increasing its contribution and impact to the national economy. The teeming community of SMEs will be exposed to trainings, workshops, mentorship programmes, financial and non-financial interventions needed for upscaling their businesses through the entire value chain.”

Alebiosu added that for almost a century and three decades of its existence, FirstBank has built a reputation for dynamism, resilience and innovation and these values have been instrumental to its constant evolution as a technology-driven bank through the many twists and turns that marked the history of banking in Nigeria.

“We are therefore poised to delivering on our commitment to provide the gold standards of services whilst living out the promise of putting our customers first. With the Bank’s presence across three continents – Africa, Europe and Asia, our international subsidiaries have continued to foster international trade relationships and partnerships which have won us many global acclaims,” he said.

On his part, Director-General of SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya, lauded the efforts and commitment of First Bank to the growth and development of SMEs Nigeria.

He said the group will continue to take strategic steps that ensure that more SMEs repay loans from banks, including getting the members to borrow in groups to ensure ease of repayment.

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