The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has restated the resolve of his bank to grow non-oil export especially Nigerian made goods by way of providing ease to financial access.
Speaking recently at a joint programme with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) recently, Okonkwo disclosed that Fidelity Bank has since recently, committed about N30 billion of its loan portfolio towards encouraging non-oil exports.
While revealing that much of the supports went to the SMEs, Okonkwo disclosed that “It has been quite impactful”.
Explaining more on the bank’s tailored supports to SMEs, he said “We are set up to take deposits and lend money. But in doing so, we do so safely. So we don’t want to jump into financing export without creating capacity for the would-be borrowers. So the emphasis for us is to develop those exporters. And then definitely, we would support them, working in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”.
“CBN is not a retail bank. So it can’t sit in its offices and lend to these exporters. So CBN needs banks like us to do that. You know that most developmental finance programmes of the CBN and BoI are usually single digit. So this one would also fall into that kind of category.
“We keep winning Best SMEs Bank of the Year. And one of the occasion to receive our plaque, my colleagues in other banks were saying to us that very soon, you will be the Best Bad Loan Bank in SMEs. Now this was three years ago. And I am happy to inform you that their dreams have not come to pass. And why? It is because we approach this from a structured perspective. That is why we have a General Manager, heading the SMEs division. What we will do is clusters. Businesses that look alike. And their needs are similar. You pre-qualify them. Study what they do. And then you create financing products for them.
On supporting private sector investment in Solid minerals, Okonkwo said “We still need to do a lot about institutional framework for solid mineral sector because for products or projects that are bankable, there must be some level of preparations that are adequately helping to mitigate the associated risks. If I don’t even know what the policy framework is, but the industry is not structured or develop enough to attract finance. Finance is not going to go there because there are other financing opportunities”.