December 2, 2016: First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited, the flagship of FCMB Group Plc, has been named the Best African Small and Medium Enterprises Development Bank of the Year by The African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AASME). The pronouncement was made at the 2nd Edition of African International Small and Medium Enterprises Economic Summit and Award (AFRI-SMEs 2016) which recently held in Aba, Abia State.
African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AASME) is a coalition of micro, small, medium businesses, associations, operators, owners and individual manufacturers within Nigeria, extended into some African countries but headquartered in Aba, otherwise referred to as The China of Africa. Some of the members include 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 award to FCMB, President General of AASME, Ambassador Darlington Onuoha Kalu, said the Bank did not deserve and merit anything less, considering its pedigree and volume of support to SMEs over the years. Its speed and positive response in various partnerships leading to the establishment, growth and development of small and medium scale businesses is very commendable. The bank is helping to solve the problem of unemployment, leading to skills acquisition and in turn, the nation’s economic development.
“FCMB is the first bank to respond to and cooperate with us, among all other Banks that we called. The bank’s level of commitment towards the economic development of Nigeria through its quality and volume of support to small businesses, starters and growing firms, has not been equalled by any other bank”, Ambassador Kalu stated.
The recognition and commendation of FCMB is also because the Bank single-handedly funded the Aba Mega Mall. It is the world’s first mall with a dryport and the first purpose-built smart mall in Africa. Utilizing the vast potential of technology, the Mall has been designed to revolutionise the consumer experience, using a world first E-commerce hub to create fluid efficiency for leisure, shopping and business needs. It comprises entertainment centres, hotels, a warehouse, online stores and restaurants. Apart from the online and offline shopping, the facility has 10megawatts independent power supply, 100 room luxury boutique hotel, games park and food courts.
FCMB is among the leading Banks in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s N220 billion support for SMEs, having given-out over N3.6billion to small businesses and women entrepreneurs.
Acknowledging the award on behalf of FCMB, the Zonal Head, Owerri of the Bank, Mr. Okey Ogelle, commended the organisers and the Governing Council of AASME for their commitment, desire and the level of organisation towards realising their objective of truly transforming and growing small businesses into mega firms.
According to Mr. Ogelle, “it is very possible to grow every small business to a big one. While initial capital is important, FCMB will desire to support any small business which is already running, not necessarily because it has a collateral to attract a loan, but if it consistently has a permanent place of location, has a credible history, is well organized and with financial activities that can be seen on record, including in-and-out transactions reflected on its bank account. Using the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote as a reference point, he added that, "you must be trusted at all times by the Banks, you do not take a loan and disappear or relocate from your known and registered address. I wish to inform you that FCMB, with its team of specially trained workforce is ready to work and partner with you. We are open to listen to you at any time. We are promising you free financial advice”, the Zonal Head assured the team of SMEs and manufacturers, who attended the economic summit.
The Executive Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Professor Kabir Dandogo, commended FCMB for its commitment towards economic development through various support to MSMEs.
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 to a retail and commercial banking-led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of personal and business aspirations of its customers.