IFC loans FCMB $50m to finance COVID-19 affected SMEs

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), of the World Bank Group, has announced a $50 million loan to Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Limited for lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In a statement by IFC on Thursday made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the loan was made through IFC’s COVID-19 fast-track financing support package to sustain businesses disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the statement, Mr Adam Nuru, FCMB’s Chief Executive, says the gesture reflects IFC’s commitment to Nigeria’s private sector following the severe challenges brought by the health and economic crisis.

Nuru, the statement said, noted that the funds would allow FCMB to support hundreds of businesses with trade financing and working capital loans.

Nuru said: “IFC’s loan facility will allow us to keep credit flowing to SMEs as well as corporate companies across all sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including in the health, pharmaceutical, food and trading industries.”

The statement added that IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Eme Lore, said that supporting financial institutions like FCMB  was vital to keeping smaller businesses solvent, saving jobs, and limiting economic damage in the face of a challenge as formidable as COVID-19.

“Although Nigeria has a strong and dynamic private sector, it needs liquidity now to ensure it remains viable during and after COVID-19,” Lore said.

IFC’s $8 billion global COVID-19 fast-track facility was launched in March 2020 to support existing clients through direct lending to affected companies and to financial institutions so they could continue lending to their clients and help to preserve and create jobs.

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According to the statement, FCMB has a network of 205 branches and serves more than 4.5 million customers in Nigeria, while, IFC’s portfolio in the country stands at $1.3 billion in sectors including manufacturing, financial services, infrastructure and technology.

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