“Africa Must Generate More Local Wealth” – James Benoit, FCMB Bank (UK) Limited’s CEO

The Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, Mr. James Benoit has urged African economies to look more inward by creating wealth that will ensure sustainable development of the continent and reduce over reliance on foreign remittances. While admitting Nigeria’s dependence on diaspora remittances may not disappear any time soon, he advised that its proportion in the total budget has to reduce as soon as possible to achieve the country’s growth agenda in the near future.

The International Banker and Investor, while fielding questions with the media, stressed the need for African countries and their leaders to eschew excessive regulation which is responsible for unnecessary bureaucracy hindering growth. Speaking about what is needed to be done to fast-track growth in Africa, Mr. Benoit said:

There is no fast-track because it is part of the problem. We need to stop thinking of fast track, one-off game changers. Africa has a major demographic challenge which will be its growth engine or else drown it. Red tape bureaucracy must be cut, youth must get education or trade, and other skills and the empowerment of women must all be addressed. The continent must also be joined up to trade among itself rather than just export which is low value-added,”.

The Chief Executive of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited whose 27 years of international banking experience spanning North America, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East and Europe has impacted on the inroad the financial institution is making in the United Kingdom and across the African continent, emphasised that the critical role of technology in Nigeria’s economic growth and advancement must be accorded priority consideration.

He explained that the extent of adoption of technology would depend a lot on its accessibility, with requisite infrastructure deliberately built for that purpose. The Banker added, technology will not serve any major purpose if it is not used by Nigeria’s growing middle class or deployed to produce services for export among others. Mr. Benoit reiterated more specifically, the importance of educating or training the youth and ensuring medical care is accessible, so they can healthily contribute.  

FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, an award-winning trade finance bank is said to have financed over hundreds of millions of dollars trade across nearly 2 dozen countries in the past 24 months.  The institution’s vast knowledge of those markets helps it to manage transactions that many other banks, including big global banks will not do. The Bank has the compliance and credit appetite to do so since it is an African bank by shareholding and with experience of the African market.

FCMB Bank (UK) Limited had obtained the Variation of Permission (VoP) from the UK Regulators: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) last year; allowing the Bank to include retail (deposit and investments) servicing in its product offering. The approval extends the Banks services from its corporate, commercial and institutional customers to include High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Chief Executive Officer of the Bank said the approval and extension of services was a major achievement which has equipped the Bank to deliver its promise of being the Corporate and Private Bank for African-oriented and Africa-based entrepreneurs, investors and professionals across all their banking needs. The Bank has also expanded its premises and entered into partnerships with professional firms to propose its service options to potential clients.

FCMB Bank (UK) Limited has proven to be of great importance to the Nigeria Stockbroking and international trade finance activities of the FCMB Group. Leveraging its deep networks in Africa’s biggest economy, the importance of a London presence to many of its Personal and Business banking customers and the technological innovation, are all welcome developments. It is an additional opportunity to meaningfully serve more of its customers and grow the value of the Group’s UK franchise.

Mr. Benoit said:

The Bank has been on a long and productive trajectory as all good journeys should be. Our Wholesale Trade Finance and Corporate Banking units are growing from strength to strength. Having launched Private Retail Banking including cross-border SMEs, it is experiencing a new growth phase which is creating exciting times for our customers”.

FCMB Bank (UK) Limited offers attractive trade finance terms across many African countries with size and tenor often not matched by larger global or Pan- African banks. The institution also offers superb interest rates on private client and business deposits combined with speedy compliance procedures as it knows Africa better than most. For sophisticated Africa cross border banking needs from a UK base, whether Corporate, Trade or a Private individual, FCMB Bank (UK) Limited is a unique fit for an excellent service experience.

FCMB Bank (UK) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, a leading financial institution in Nigeria. With subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments including pensions and wealth creation, the UK subsidiary has successfully expanded to include retail and commercial banking clients.