First City Monument Bank Limited has given out over N3.6bn to small businesses and women entrepreneurs from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N220bn support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
The bank, which is the flagship of FCMB Group Plc, in a statement on Tuesday, said it had been on the lead among other banks as far as the MSME financing was concerned.
To this end, the bank was said to have been recently named as the Best African Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bank of the Year by the African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.
The pronouncement was made at the second edition of African International Small and Medium Enterprises Economic Summit and Award 2016, which was held in Aba, Abia State.
The AASME is a coalition of micro, small, medium businesses, associations, operators, owners and individual manufacturers within Nigeria, extended into other African countries but headquartered in Aba, otherwise referred to as ‘the China of Africa’.
Some of the members are entrepreneurship and skill development cooperatives, palm kernel producers, import and export groups, garment, textile manufacturers, dealers, investment and development cooperatives as well as leather and allied products cooperatives, among others.
Commenting on the development, the President-General of the AASME, Darlington Onuoha-Kalu, said FCMB’s pedigree and volume of support for the SMEs over the years was commendable.
“Its speed and positive response in various partnerships leading to the establishment, growth and development of small and medium-scale businesses is commendable. The bank is helping to solve the problem of unemployment, leading to skills acquisition and, in turn, the nation’s economic development,” Onuoha-Kalu said.
The bank had single-handedly funded the Aba Mega Mall, which is the world’s first mall with a dry-port and the first of purpose-built smart mall in Africa.
Acknowledging the award on behalf of the Regional Director, FCMB in the South-East and South-South, Mr. Okey Ezeala, the Vice-President and Zonal Head, Owerri Zone, Mr. Okey Ogelle, commended the organisers and the governing council of the AASME for their commitment, desire and the level of organisation towards realising their main objective of truly transforming and growing small businesses into mega firms.