FirstBank Signs $100m SME Facility Agreement with China Bank

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 09, (THEWILL) - In its bid to boost lending to small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria, and also stimulate economic growth in the country, Nigeria’s Best Banking Brand, First Bank of Nigeria Limited Tuesday signed a $100m facility agreement with China Development Bank (CDB), a leading bank in the Peoples’ Republic of China. This is coming on the heels of the FirstBank’s extension of a single digit credit facility to Nigerian entrepreneurs in partnership with the Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI).

The signing of the landmark agreement, witnessed by President Goodluck Jonathan, who is on a State visit to China; and his host, President Xi Jinping of China, reinforces the Bank’s leadership position as a National Icon and Global Player, a statement by Folake Ani-Mumuney, the bank’s Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications said.

The FirstBank Group Managing Director, Bisi Onasanya is a member of the Presidential delegation which also includes 4 state governors and 10 cabinet ministers.

According to the document signed by the Management of the two banks, the two institutions will work together to further strengthen the business cooperation between both parties within the framework of each party’s respective articles and memorandum of association and applicable laws and regulations in Nigeria an China.

Specifically, the Memorandum of Understanding provides for a Comprehensive Cooperation between FirstBank and China Development Bank in the On-lending facility of USD100m to Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria, while also touching areas like Credit Lines, Trade Finance, Syndication and Project Finance, Consultancy Services, Sharing of Business Experience and Foreign Exchange Transactions.

Commenting on the MoU, FirstBank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Bisi Onasanya said the partnership with CDB is in line with the FirstBank’s strategic focus on financial inclusion as it would address the challenges of credit delivery to the unbanked market’s segment in Nigeria through mobilized funds that will avail credit facilities to registered SME operators at concessionary rate. He said in addition to disbursing funds, the Bank would support SMEs through business advisory services, capacity building and development of relevant IT infrastructure.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited is Nigeria’s leading financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings. With more than 5 million customers, FirstBank has over 700 branches and five (5) subsidiary companies, providing a comprehensive range of financial services. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London, and Banque International de Credit (B.I.C) in the Republic of Congo, as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.

FirstBank is recipient of several recent awards including the “Best Banking Group in Nigeria” by World Finance Banking Awards, “Best Financial Reporting Company” by Africa Investor, “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” by African Banker Awards, “The Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards, “The Best Indigenous Place to Work For in Nigeria” and “The Best Financial Services Company to Work For in Nigeria” by the Great Place to Work Awards, and “The Bank of the Year in Nigeria” by The Banker Magazine.

In addition, for two consecutive years, 2012 and 2013, FirstBank has been named “Nigeria’s Number One Banking Brand” by Brand Finance Top 500 Banking Brands.