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FCMB deepens empowerment of SMEs in Ogun State, first lady commends bank

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has restated its commitment to the productivity and profitability of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) through funding, capacity building, advisory and other forms of support that would boost their overall contributions to economic development.

FCMB, which is rated as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria in the latest Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey report by KPMG, gave the assurance at a free and comprehensive capacity building and empowerment programme it organised for women entrepreneurs in Ogun State, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of the State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, on February 5, 2020.

The programme, themed, “Supporting Women Businesses to Scale Up in 2020’’ and under the auspices of FCMB’s SME Advisory and SheVentures initiative for women entrepreneurs, was attended by hundreds of existing and start-up entrepreneurs across Ogun State, seasoned professionals from the Bank of Industry (BoI), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), among others. It focused on business and skills development, marketing, finance, taxation, cost and revenue management, business plan writing, in addition to other topical issues.

Speaking at the opening session, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the Bank recognises the increasing role and impact of SMEs, especially women-owned ones. According to her, ‘’it is a fact that in Nigeria, several women have risen through various challenges to become top entrepreneurs. Through resilience and innovation, they have taken the front seat in driving growth in this sector and by extension the larger economy. However, we believe that women can do better in the SMEs ecosystem if provided with the requisite skills and other resources.’’.

Mrs. Smith added that, “as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria, we have built a strong base in this segment by consistently offering various cutting-edge solutions under our key pillars of support, which are, access to capital, capacity building, advisory services, networking opportunity and technology. We are excited that these interventions have tremendously impacted individuals, businesses and the nation’s economy, especially through job and wealth creation.”.

She expressed gratitude to the Ogun State Government and the Office of the First Lady for providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, while urging the participants to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the training.

In her keynote address, the First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Abiodun, said, ‘’as a firm believer in initiatives that focus on boosting the economic capacity of women and offering both financial and non-financial support to women-owned enterprises, I consider this programme as a step in the right direction. I was excited when I was informed about the FCMB SheVentures initiative. Financial empowerment remains one of the most important means of eradicating poverty among women in the developing world, as seen in Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria’’.

She added that, “we have had numerous empowerment programmes in Nigeria. Many were driven by capacity building programmes followed by loans and grants to women to start-up businesses.  However, studies have shown that these initiatives, while having some value failed to reach their full potential because of one missing ingredient, which is financial education as a vehicle to actualise the full value of any business venture. And here today, FCMB through its efforts to ensure that women owned businesses in Ogun state and Nigeria as a whole are not left out in the development of the nation’s economy, has delivered this very much sought after Financial Education to us on a first class level amongst an array of financial solutions’’.

FCMB provides numerous offerings to SMEs in Nigeria, including FCMB SME Advisory Services through market intelligence, technical assistance support and access to intervention funds in partnership with Development Financial Institutions. There is also the FCMB SheVentures initiative, which provides enhanced support to women-owned SMEs through access to finance, training and mentoring with the unique benefit of zero-interest rate for an initial period of three months. So far, over 2000 women entrepreneurs have benefitted from this.

The Bank has also automated and digitized its lending process for SMEs through the FCMB Quickloans platform. Since the launch of the platform in July 2019, over N10billion unsecured loans have been disbursed to SME customers within three to twenty-four hours of each application.

For more information about FCMB, please visit www.fcmb.com.

See pictures from the event below:

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Keystone Bank restates commitment to environmental sustainability

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Keystone Bank restates commitment to environmental sustainability
Keystone Bank staff planting Mahogany trees at the Nigeria Conservation Foundation in Lagos, recently.

Keystone Bank Limited, Nigeria’s most innovative banking services provider, has restated its commitment to environmental sustainability as it recently embarked on tree planting campaign.

According to the lender, the event which saw staff of the bank plant trees at the Nigeria Conservation Foundation in Lagos, is in line with its bid to further align with the Sustainable Development Goal 15, which stresses the call by the United Nations to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss and ultimately for environmental sustainability.

Commenting on the initiative, Keystone Bank executive director, Adeyemi Odusanya said: “As a bank, our goal is to lead the movement promoting environmental sustainability in Nigeria and we are clearly going to sustain that.

“One of the ways to sustain this initiative is by planting trees to preserve the environment. Tree planting remains a strong tool to tackle the effect of climate change. Climate change is the most significant material risk to the future because it poses most devastating threat to human survival.

“Keystone Bank fully aligns itself with the UN ideology.

“We cannot live a healthy life, conduct business and create wealth amidst a sick environment. Hence, this gesture is our commitment towards a sustainable future that will benefit all,” Odusanya noted.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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Court orders Fidson Healthcare to pay ex-staff N4 million

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Court orders Fidson Healthcare to pay ex-staff N4 million

Benin Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria led by Justice Abiola Adewemimo has ordered Fidson Healthcare Plc to pay the sum of N4 million to its former employee, Mr Obateru Olufemi Abidemi, for illegally withholding his first degree certificate despite asking for it to be returned to him.

The Witness gathered that Mr Abidemi worked with Fidson as a pharmacist for over two years and one of the conditions for getting the job in August 2007 was for him to deposit his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree certificate with the company.

However, trouble started after he resigned in December 2009 and his three letters to Fidson between 2013 and 2016 demanding for the return of his original certificate were ignored.

This forced him to file a complaint before the court in January 2018, claiming his fundamental right had been violated by the defendant.

He also said the refusal of the drug-making company has made him to suffer psychological trauma, mental pains, distress, embarrassment and inconvenience. He therefore, asked the court to direct the company to return his certificate and pay him the sum of N5 million as general damages.

But Fidson, in its defence, denied all the allegations, saying it held the certificate because the claimant had an outstanding indebtedness of N9.234 million after reconciliation of the accounts.

According to Fidson, on several occasions, the claimant sold goods to customers and refused to remit the proceeds to the company as a result of which, he was asked to proceed on two weeks suspension without pay with effect from July 7, 2009.

The company informed the court that on December 28, 2009, the claimant suddenly resigned his appointment without clearing the alleged debt, which the claimant denied.

In her ruling, Justice Adewemimo dismissed Fidson’s counter-claim, emphasising that, “The refusal of the defendant to release to the claimant, his original Bachelor of Pharmacy certificate is unlawful.”

The judge further held that, “The defendant is hereby ordered to within 72 hours of this judgment, release to the claimant, his Bachelor of Pharmacy certificate.

“The defendant is hereby ordered to pay to the claimant the sum of N4,000,000 (Four Million Naira) as general damages.

“All judgment sums awarded in this suit shall be paid within 30 days failure upon which it will attract a 10% interest per annum.

“A cost of N200,000.00k cost is hereby awarded against the defendant.”

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Contempt: Wema Bank’s MD, 6 other official must appear Tuesday – Court

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Contempt: Wema Bank’s MD, 6 other official must appear Tuesday – Court

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There is no reprieve yet for the Wema Bank Plc and its seven officials cited for contempt, as a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria reinforced its order compelling the said official to appear before the court on Tuesday to explain why committal to prison order should not be made against them.

When the matter was mentioned on Monday, only the Secretary of the bank, Johnson Lebile was present.

Other officials of the bank charged for contempt are Ademola Adebise, managing director; Moruf Oseni, deputy managing director; Wole Akinleye, executive director and Folake Sanu, executive director.

Lebile told the court that the chairman of the bank, Babatunde Kasali travelled abroad, why other Directors ordered to appear before the court today are not available.

He explained to the court that the bank refused to obey the order of the court to pay the judgement sum because the bank had filed an appeal against the ruling of the court and also filed stay of execution of the judgement of the court.

However, the lawyer to the bank officials cited for contempt, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, suggested to the court that he could advise Wema Bank to pay the judgement sum into the account of the Chief Registrar of the court, since there was appeal against the judgement of the court and application for stay of execution of the said judgement and other pending application so that the outcome of the appeal would not be made nugatory.

However, the counsel to Heritage Bank, Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN, in a counter argument told the court that the business of the day was for the parties cited for contempt to appear before the court to explain why they should not be sent to prison for flagrant disobedience of order of the court.

He urged the court to issue bench warrant against those officials that were not in court, while the Company’s Secretary present in court should be sent to prison to show that the court was not a toothless bulldog.

In his reaction, Ogunde, while citing certain rules of the court said last Friday, the court issued order compelling the officers of Wema Bank cited for contempt to appear before the court and that by virtue of the rule of the court Sundays and public holidays were not to be counted, saying that in view of this provision, the time for them to appear would expire tomorrow.

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