In a statement, they said women entrepreneurs in Nigeria who desired affordable and convenient funding to boost their respective businesses would have access to such funds.
The statement added that the development was in line with the commitment of the bank to empower women-owned SMEs (existing and start-ups), through financial support, advisory and value-added products to enhance customer experience and overall contribution to the growth of the country and its economy.
FCMB, it added, had established a dedicated desk for women-owned businesses under its Business Banking Group and equipped the unit with professional personnel to meet the needs of the segment.
The bank explained that the zero-interest rate product, which was for an initial period of three months, was designed as an all-round programme structured to prepare and equip the bank’s female owned SMEs’ customers to take their business to greater heights.
It added that the product came with additional benefits, such as capacity building programmes through training and financial advisory services.
The statement said, “80 women, every quarter, will have access to mentorship and training and 40 of these women will benefit from the loan. This means that by the end of the year, we will have mentored 320 women and 160 women will have enjoyed the facility.”
Commenting on the product, the Executive Director, Business Development,FCMB, Mrs Bukola Smith, noted that women had become important assets for social and economic growth, going by their business undertakings and exploits in the establishment and management of SMEs.
She said, “At FCMB, we recognise and appreciate the noble efforts of women entrepreneurs in the areas of job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, empowerment and the overall socio-economic development of Nigeria.
“Our zero-interest loan product is tailored to offer sustainable benefits and increase the productivity and contributions of women-owned SMEs. It will further unravel and unleash the true potential of women in entrepreneurship so that they can take their respective businesses to greater heights and compete favourably in the global environment.
“We have also put in place structures and processes to ensure transparent selection of the beneficiaries. We will, hopefully, increase the number of beneficiaries on a yearly basis and keep enriching the other value-added advisory services to cater to the emerging and pressing challenges women face in their businesses.”