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FCMB: Nigeria’s Best Bank for SMEs in Relentless Quest to Empower Businesses

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Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) are globally recognized as engines of socio-economic transformation. In Nigeria, they are at the heart of a push for economic prosperity.

Together with micro-scale ventures, these businesses contribute almost half of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employ 76.5 percent of the national workforce and account for 7.64 percent of export receipts, a joint survey by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2017 shows.

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They also make up more than 90 percent of the total businesses in Nigeria.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said to be about 41.5 million in Nigeria, can help re-distribute wealth, improve local manufacturing and diversify the economy.

As such, the policies and institutions that support their growth are important variables for Nigeria’s economic ends.

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One of such institutions is First City Monument Bank (FCMB), a leading financial services provider.

The mid-tier lender last year proved its mettle in the Nigerian banking industry, emerging the best bank in customer experience for SMEs.

The bank leapt to the first position in the SMEs category from a third-place ranking in the prior year. FCMB in 2018 also emerged the third most customer-focused in retail banking.

This is according to the 2019 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey (NBICES) report by KPMG, one of the Big 4 global consulting firms.

According to the 2019 report, analysis of performance in the SME segment reveals dynamism in the latest ranking, with FCMB edging other Banks to emerge top.

The 2019 research was conducted via face-to-face and online survey methodology, involving SME owners across Nigeria. It was anchored on six pillars of assessment and performance, namely personification, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort as well as empathy.

“While the Nigerian banking landscape has constantly been faced with steep competition, the stakes have been raised even higher and performing well on customer experience is the new minimum standard,’’ said KPMG. “As the race for the customer intensifies, front-runners will be those who demonstrate an understanding of the customer’s specific circumstances to consistently deliver a personalised experience”, it added.

The latest positive affirmation received by FCMB is a demonstration that the various supports the Bank offers to boost the performance of SMEs and its overall contributions to the growth of the nation’s economy are yielding the desired results and appreciated by the market.

FCMB is known for its bespoke products and excellent service offerings cutting across retail, SMEs, transaction, commercial and corporate.

The leap in the rating of FCMB as the number one Bank in Customer Experience for SMEs is a proof that the bank is on the right path towards achieving its goal of attaining the highest levels of customer advocacy in the industry and a major contributor to economic development.

FCMB, on several occasions, has restated its commitment to consistently deliver exceptional service and offering the right propositions to help SMEs and other customer segments fulfil their individual and business aspirations.

For instance, the bank recently organized a training themed, ‘’Supporting Women Businesses to Scale Up in 2020’’, a free and comprehensive capacity building and empowerment programme for women entrepreneurs in Ogun State.

The programme aimed at enhancing the productivity and profitability of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) through funding, capacity building, advisory and other forms of support, held February 5, 2020, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of the State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun.

The bank said it would continue to assist SMEs to overcome the challenges they usually face, especially at the take-off stage, because it wants to be part of their success story.

FCMB has built a strong base in the SME segment by consistently championing and executing several cutting-edge solutions that have tremendously impacted on businesses nationwide under the following pillars of support; access to capital, capacity building, advisory services, networking opportunity and technology. The lender is one of the top participating Banks in the various intervention funds of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). FCMB has been commended by the CBN, Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria, among others, for its strong support to SMEs.

The lender also partners local and international DFIs to provide various forms of funding, guarantees, grants and capacity building programmes to entrepreneurs. Also, FCMB offers free banking transactions for three months to new to Bank SME customers. It also has in its bouquet tailored products to suit the needs of SMEs customers, such as free accounting applications, Payroll solution and so on.

FCMB has equally automated its lending process for SMEs by adopting digital banking solutions to penetrate and deepen its intervention in the segment through its Quickloans platform. Since the launch of the platform in July 2019, over N10billion unsecured loans have been disbursed to SME customers within three to twenty-four hours of application through the Quickloans platform.

For women entrepreneurs, FCMB’s SheVentures initiative, launched in March 2019 to offer enhanced support to existing and start-up women-owned SMEs through access to finance, training and mentoring, has continued to encourage entrepreneurship, while also turning around the fortunes of existing businesses. Apart from other benefits, it comes with a zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months for beneficiaries. Also, over 2000 women entrepreneurs are being mentored by the Bank through the SheVentures initiative.

Beyond financial support, FCMB has trained over 10,000 SMEs, while also championing and executing several value-added capacity building programmes that have fast-tracked the growth of businesses, thereby upscaling their contributions to the development of the country. The lender organises a comprehensive programme, tagged, ‘’Business Enterprises and Sustainability Training (BEST)’’, SME Clinics and Masterclass for business owners nationwide to equip them with management skills and ensure effective networking.

FCMB has ensured the development of emerging markets, such as renewable energy, agribusiness and creative industry. The Bank hosts several workshops and exhibitions for these sectors. For instance, it organised a workshop on Climate Finance Awareness, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), under the theme, ‘’EnergyEfficiency and Solar Energy Solutions for Your Business”. This was a follow-up to the one held in August 2018 on Sustainable Energy Finance (SEFi). There was also a seminar on tax matters, in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, for SMEs in June.

In the same vein, FCMB in November last year hosted a workshop on Energy-Agric Nexus for Rural Economic Development, under the theme, “Stimulating the Agricultural Sector through Off-Grid Energy Development”, in Abuja. It was in partnership with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), The European Union, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS) Foundation and Power for All. The workshop provided a rare opportunity for operators in agribusiness and the power sector to engage in constructive and interactive sessions with industry experts and decision-makers on harnessing and deploying alternative, renewable, clean and affordable sources of energy, particularly off-grid ones, to stimulate agribusiness.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.

Having successfully transformed into a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

 

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Travelers at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) can now enjoy a new level of comfort and convenience with the launch of Altclub by The Alternative Bank.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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The innovative premium space offers a luxurious retreat where passengers can relax and recharge before their flights, while also catering to their basic banking needs.

Altclub, an arm of The Alternative Bank’s digital travel financing product, Alttravel, is dedicated to enhancing travel accessibility and ease for Nigerians.

Alttravel operates a “Travel Now, Pay Later” system, eliminating the need for upfront payments and offering maximum flexibility. With zero initial deposit and impressively low mark-up rates over a flexible six-month tenor, travelers can achieve their travel goals with financial peace of mind.

Mohammed Yunusa, Director of Digital Business and Innovations at The Alternative Bank, highlighted the significance of Altclub at the launch event. “Altclub isn’t just a lounge; it’s a sanctuary of comfort and convenience,” Yunusa stated. “Gone are the days of sacrificing relaxation for travel formalities. Our lounge offers a luxurious space where travelers can unwind and rejuvenate before their flights, free from the typical travel stress.”

In addition to offering a tranquil environment for relaxation, Altclub provides a range of amenities to cater to travelers’ needs, including refreshments, high-speed Wi-Fi, and charging stations for electronic devices. Yunusa added that Concierge services are also available to assist with travel arrangements, ensuring guests have everything they need for a comfortable journey.

Joining Yunusa in addressing the guests, Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Executive Director of Sales at The Alternative Bank, elaborated on the lounge’s accessibility. ”

Altclub is exclusively available to The Alternative Bank customers, showcasing our commitment to their comfort and convenience. Present your boarding pass and proof of Altbank membership at the entrance, and our dedicated staff will ensure a seamless and enjoyable pre-flight experience.”

Korede emphasised the unique opportunity for travelers to plan their next trip directly from the lounge. “Through Alttravel, our digital travel financing product, customers can explore various destinations and book flights with flexible financing options. Altclub provides a convenient platform for travelers to access financing and make their travel aspirations a reality, reinforcing our dedication to enhancing the travel experience for our valued customers.”

Altclub is committed to offering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all travelers, whether on business or a leisure getaway.

The grand opening of Altclub on May 22, 2024, was attended by prominent figures from the travel industry and local dignitaries, highlighting the importance of this milestone in enhancing the travel experience for passengers at MMA2 Airport.

About The Alternative Bank:
The Alternative Bank commenced its journey in January 2014 with a vision to create a dynamic banking experience that respects individuality and speaks the language of its customers. In July 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a Banking License to The Alternative Bank, enabling it to operate as a fully-fledged, standalone bank. Guided by its Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE), The Alternative Bank ensures all its operations align with the ethics of Non-Interest Banking.

//Ends

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) has decorated Aare Adetola Emmanuelking, Chairman/CEO of Adron Homes, and his wife, Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking, as the Golden Grand National Patron and Grand National Matron for women and youth committees of PCRC in Nigeria and diaspora. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon them during the PCRC’s 40th anniversary celebration, held in Lagos.

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The ceremony, which took place in Lagos, was attended by National PCRC chairman, Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan and other members of the committee, dignitaries, community leaders, and members of the Nigerian Police Force. The PCRC’s decision to honor the Emmanuelkings highlights their unwavering commitment to community development and their substantial support for initiatives aimed at enhancing public safety and fostering cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

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PCRC Decorates Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Wife Yeye Aderonke as Golden Grand National Patron/Matron, Marks 40th Anniversary

 

In his acceptance speech, Aare Adetola Emmanuelking expressed his profound gratitude for the recognition, stating, “This honor is not just for me and my wife but for every Nigerian who believes in the power of community and the importance of working together with our police force to create a safer and more harmonious society.”

In her reaction to the honor, Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking emphasized the role of women and families in fostering community spirit and resilience. She noted, “Our communities thrive when we all play our part. As National Grand Patrons, we are committed to promoting initiatives that bring the police and the people closer together, ensuring mutual trust and cooperation.”

It will be recalled that the PCRC, established in 1984, by the then IGP, Etim Inyang has played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the Nigerian Police Force and local communities. Over the past four decades, the committee has launched numerous programs aimed at improving communication, trust, and mutual respect. This 40th-anniversary celebration not only commemorated the PCRC’s achievements but also set the stage for future endeavors to strengthen community policing.

The National PCRC chairman, Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim-Olaniyan, praised the Emmanuelkings for their exceptional support and dedication. He remarked, “The Emmanuelkings have shown exemplary commitment to the ideals of the PCRC. Their leadership and philanthropic efforts have significantly contributed to the enhancement of community policing in Nigeria. Their new roles as National Grand Patrons will undoubtedly inspire further progress in our collective efforts to maintain peace and security.”

The chairman further stated that the decoration of Aare Adetola Emmanuelking and Yeye Aderonke Emmanuelking as National Grand Patrons stands as a testament to the power of community partnership and the enduring impact of dedicated civic leadership.

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Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities …shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

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Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities

…shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

 

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The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF)’s N15 billion National Food Intervention programme has landed in Yewa land as the Foundation commenced distribution of 40,000 bags of rice in Ogun state.

Yesterday, the 17 host communities of the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant, along with Itori, Igbogila, and Ilaro, received their share. Beneficiaries in Ibese and Araromi were accredited and received one bag each at the palace of Aboro of Ibeseland, Oba Rotimi Mulero.

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Ijebu-Igbo, the host communities to Dangote Granite Mines will soon receive their allocation as the rice for the area has been delivered in preparation for distribution.

Chairman of ADF and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, launched the food intervention programme in Kano in March, promising that the Foundation will distribute over one million 10kg bags across the 774 local government areas of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT in Nigeria at a cost of about N15 billion.

The Aboro of Ibeseland expressed gratitude on behalf of his communities to the Foundation for its benevolence in distributing rice at this time of economic challenge, saying the gesture would benefit many households where staple food like rice has become scarce.

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He likened Dangote’s initiative to Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), introduced by the military government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over 46 years ago to revitalize agriculture and ensure food availability for all Nigerians.

Oba Mulero stated, “we are grateful to Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The rice gift is very impressive given the current situation in the country. We really appreciate him. What he has done can be likened to Operation Feed the Nation of those days. That is what I will call it. He has done well to decide to feed the people. Everybody is vulnerable now in this country.”

He continued, “What Alhaji Dangote is doing is worthy of emulation by other well-meaning Nigerians. When food is out of the problem equation, the equation is easy to solve. We are using this opportunity to thank him for this gesture. You can see the way my people are happily receiving it. We pray to God to continue to uplift him.”

The Aboro of Ibese commended Dangote for his job creation efforts through investments. He said the rice distribution to the people of Ibese is like the icing on the cake as the Cement Plant sited in the community has absorbed some of the host communities’ indigenes and that the food palliative would go a long way to cushion the effect of the economic hardship.

He pledged the support of the people to the Dangote Cement, Ibese plant to ensure the company operates in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity so that the company can continue to benefit the host communities.

One of the beneficiaries, Odunfa Ayodele Adams, an indigene of Ibese on behalf of others expressed appreciation to the ADF. He said it was the first time such a programme would be brought to the Ibese community and prayed to God to give Alhaji Dangote long life to do more for the society.

It would be recalled that Alhaji Dangote while speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the programme explained that the initiative is a crucial step towards alleviating the ongoing economic challenges faced by the country.

He also emphasized the importance of compassion and generosity, stressing that all stakeholders must play a part in supporting the government to alleviate hunger in the land.

“Our distribution of rice symbolizes our commitment to upholding the values of compassion and solidarity, which are at the core of our humanity. ADF has decided to spearhead the food intervention programme,” he said.

On the modalities for distribution of the rice, Dangote said: “the modalities for the programme involve collaboration with state and local governments as well as local community partners to ensure effective delivery of the rice to the most vulnerable across the country, regardless of state, tribe, gender, religion, politics, or other attributes, “he added.

In her own remark then, the Chief Executive Officer of the ADF, Zouera Youssoufou said the rice distribution is in addition to the Foundation’s daily bread relief programme, that is producing and distributing over 32,000 family-size loaves of bread across Kano and Lagos States every day since 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “It is noteworthy that Dangote’s efforts in nutrition strengthening in Nigeria extend well beyond the foundation’s food relief programmes and nutrition activities. The Dangote Group has been actively investing in food fortification across the Nigerian food industry, with its iodized salt, vitamin A fortified sugar, while researches are on-going into micronutrient fortification of staples like rice, wheat, and bouillon cubes”.

Economic hardship: Dangote Foundation distributes rice to host communities
…shares 40,000 bags in Ogun

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