FirstBank Signs $100m SME Facility Agreement with China Bank

By The Citizen

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 today <calendar:T5:today> 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. 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.