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IFC, Skye Bank To Raise Lending To Small Businesses

Stories by Sunny Obidigbo

Skye Bank Plc has entered into partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to expand lending to Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The partnership of Skye Bank with IFC, an arm of the World Bank Group is aimed at strengthening SMEs operations in the country and is also expected to produce a new lending framework that de-emphasises reliability on collateral by focusing primarily on evaluating business viability.

“Based on this new framework, when a business passes the viability test, the bank can consider non-traditional collateral options outside real estate to reduce the difficulty faced by business owners in their bid to secure credit facilities from banks,” a statement by Skye Bank said. According to the statement, the lender has also concluded plans to stop charging commission on turnover on all retail current accounts, ahead of the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Head, Retail Banking, Skye Bank, Nkolika Okoli, was quoted as saying that the bank’s new retail strategy had necessitated a shift from product-led to a more segment- led approach. The business focus would henceforth concentrate more on customers and less on products using unique value propositions built around the needs of each customer segment. Okoli said since individual needs differ based on their economic worth and age, it followed that every customer-centric business should recognise the differences and provide solutions tailored to meet them.

She explained that with the recent acquisition of Mainstreet Bank and the latest modern banking application software by Skye, the bank was better place to serve its retail customers efficiently. The banker said that in addition to its in-house SME loans for small and medium business owners, the lender was also one of the SME-friendly banks appointed by both the CBN and the Bank of Industry to disburse the Federal Government’s MSME support funds.

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