Concerned by the challenge of access to finance in the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has said it would soon launch a system that would ensure that its customers access loans without collateral.
Specifically, the bank said it would soon launch a system that would ensure that customers that which to secure facilities from the bank undergo psychometric test to enable them access credit without collateral.
In addition, the bank said as part of efforts to build capacity among small and medium scale enterprisesâ€™ (SMEsâ€™) in the country it would train operators in the country.
Speaking at a products fair organised by the bank, the Manager, Consumer Segment, First Bank, Mr. Akinfolarin Oluwafemi said the move would also contribute to the growth of the countryâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
â€œYou come to me and you want to borrow money from you and I donâ€™t know you, I will need you to give me something that I can fall back on if you default.
â€œBasically with this system, if you walk into any First Bank branch, they conduct this test for you and you get your loan based on the result of the test and we are not asking for collateral,â€ he added.
He noted that SMEs employ the largest number of people in any economy in the world.
â€œWe started our SME strategy last year and that was why we had our SME conference last year. We have now built on that with a 2014 programme which was built around the two key things that we have identified among SMEs â€“ capacity building and access to finance.
â€œWe are going to start holding SME seminars across Nigeria before May. We want to train you (SMEs) on how to develop your strategy, we want to tell you how you can access finance and how you can structure your company in a way that you will have books that you can take to the bank and be able to access finance,â€ he explained.
He revealed that the training would focus on specific sectors in the economy.
According to him, the country has about 17 million companies that are termed SMEs contributing significantly to the economy.
â€œEverybody wants to do something and most of us need loan for that. Basically, what we done is that we have identified value-added products and services.
â€œWe have loan products and convenient base platform, we have various channels that can make life easier,â€ he added.
The bank used the platform to showcase products such as 3AL, for consumer banking, payment and collection and wholesale banking.