…Announces disbursement of N2.3bn to SMEs
By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA — FIDELITY Bank Plc, last week, poured encomiums on its customers for their consistent loyalty, with a further promise of meeting their needs through favourable loan packages.
At the well attended programme, which took place at the magnificent Paterson Hall of All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, the bank also unfolded a new programme titled Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP, specifically put together to assist businessmen that require foreign exchange to enhance their operations.
Managing director of the bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, who informed the audience that he spent his early years as a young banker in the town, expressed delight that most of his customers then were still loyal customers of today’s Fidelity Bank.
He described Onitsha as very dear to the bank in view of the large number of customers from the area, coupled with the fact that the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi and the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano were part of the bank before they came to serve Anambra State.
He said that as part of Fidelity Bank’s efforts to reach out to young entrepreneurs, it has disbursed a total of N2.3 billion to 102 persons under the Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, scheme, explaining that SME beneficiaries had already repaid about N400 million.
Describing it as part of the bank’s determined effort to create wealth among Nigerians, he urged those yet to repay the loans to do so to enable other people benefit.
He said: “We are proudly SME friendly as a bank and we do it in a structured manner, which is why we have a strong portfolio for SMEs. That also shows that the intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in the scheme is really working and we appeal to our customers to realize that there is nothing like national cake when loans are involved.
“We, therefore, urge the beneficiaries to be responsible enough to repay their loans so that they do not deny other people the opportunity to obtain the facility.”
Keeping faith with the bank
He, however, threatened that those who refuse to repay their loans as and when due, would be prosecuted by the bank.
Chairman of the bank, Mr. Ernest Ebi, said the bank invited the customers to celebrate them for keeping faith with the bank and to find out their problems with a view to addressing them. “We tagged this forum ‘connecting with you’ to show the importance we attach to our customers in this part of the country,” he said.
Some of the customers who spoke at the forum appealed to the bank to bridge the gap between the big businessmen who have easy access to loans and the youths who have entrepreneurial ideas, but were unable to obtain bank loans.
They also observed that there was a big divide between those who engage in importation and manufacturing, advising that Fidelity Bank should have a deliberate policy of assisting manufacturers to become big players in business because that is the only way Nigeria’s economy could make a genuine growth.