FirstBank Joins SME Finance Forum, Reinforces Its Impact on SMEs

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has joined the SME Finance Forum. The SME Finance Forum comprises financing experts from 80+ countries who share the common goal of expanding access to finance to small businesses worldwide, through knowledge exchange and innovation.

“40 percent of small and medium businesses worldwide struggle to get access to the credit and capital that they need to grow their enterprises. We are delighted to welcome FirstBank to our network of 200 members who are working to eliminate the finance gap for SMEs,” said Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum.

To see all SME Finance Forum members, please visit:

FirstBank has been nimble at promoting a digital economy in Africa and has issued over 10 million cards. The institution’s financial inclusion and cashless transaction drive have resulted in over 228 million users on its USSD banking service through the nationally acclaimed *894# banking service and over 4.1 million users on Firstmobile platform, its digital banking application.

Since the last nine months of the COVID-19 impact, FirstBank has organised six virtual SME centric webinars aimed at getting business owners informed and educated on various ways to withstand the economic shocks caused by the pandemic.

In addition, in April 2020, FirstBank offered a-90 day moratorium on SME loans and introduced special waivers on repayment fees on the Bank’s credit cards as part of the palliative measures it employed to reduce the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. Recently, in September, FirstBank partnered with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) in a 6 Billion naira matching fund scheme. The scheme aims to cushion the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on low-cost private schools by ensuring lending at an attractive interest rate.

“We are excited to join the SME Finance Forum, especially at this unprecedented time, when the sustenance of businesses is essential to mitigate the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. This membership is in recognition of the leading role we play in enabling the SMEs in Nigeria.

This role is hinged on our heritage of over 126 years; our experience and continuous reinvention, which we bring to bear in empowering other businesses, aimed at contributing to the economy through this sensitive time. Without a doubt, outliving the pandemic is the responsibility of everyone” said Mr. Gbenga F. Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years. 

With over 750 business locations and over 82,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing. 

The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 3 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.  

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

Folake Ani-Mumuney 

Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications 

About SME Finance Forum 

The SME Finance Forum was established by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) in 2012 as a knowledge center for data, research, and best practice in promoting SME finance. As an implementing partner for the GPFI, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was tasked with managing the initiative.

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