Leading retail banking giant, Fidelity Bank Plc has given out loans to Nigerian businesses over and above the latest limit 60 per cent Lending to Deposit Ratio (LDR) set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Making the revelation on a weekly live radio SME Forum on Inspiration FM in Lagos earlier in the week, the Executive Director/Chief Operations Officer, Joshua Gbolahan, disclosed that the feat is achieved with minimal Non-Performing Loans (NPLs).
He was quick to reveal that Fidelity Bank’s policy of structured approach under a managed SME team which is driven by strategic capacity building powered financial advisory model to tame incidences of NPLs.
The Executive Director added that “Our NPLs are below six per cent, with our cost of risk below one per cent at 0.5 last year. This is because we do this lending on a very structured manner and evaluate the sector we lend against our defined limits. Currently, we are supporting our risk management framework with a lot of tools from digital perspective.”
He further averred that Fidelity bank is working with the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) in riding on the CBN’s development financing programmes to grow the activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Explaining more, Gbolahan said “If you look at the bank in the last five years, every single year, even during the recession, it has grown its loan books. Even in the face of currency devaluation, it has grown its loan books and I can assure you that the bank will never stop lending.
According to him, “We have a programme called SME Funding Connect, scheduled for August 7, where we will give out grants, not just loans.”
Backing up Gbolahan’s explanations, the bank’s Regional Head, Ikeja Bank, Ken Opara, disclosed that “Today, we have over one million active SMEs in our books, apart from others that access our services from the twitter, radio or all the programmes that we do. We are now partnering with a lot of people who can help our SMEs take their products digitally.”
Business Hilights recalls that since the new directive from the CBN to commercial banks on LDR, many banks have stepped up lending but with caution and to escape possible sanctions by the apex bank.