First City Monument Bank (FCMB) one of the nation’s futuristic lenders, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) for the purposes of increasing the bank’s support to agribusiness, its value chain and the nation’s economy.
The bank stated said that the MoU outlined a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors of the economy.
It stated further that as part of the terms of the partnership, in addition to the stated areas of support, the WSBI would provide technical supervision on a regular basis to ensure the achievement of mutually agreed goals.
Specifically, based on the MoU and under phase one of the project, FCMB is rolling out an integrated savings account named ‘Kampe Account’ to offer financial services to reach 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states.
The bank stated that the farmers would be reached through its agricultural agents operating under its agency banking proposition, adding that the states to benefit in the first phase are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo.
FCMB expatiated: “The plan is to reach two million farmers across the entire nation by the year 2023. In addition to the financial support to farmers, FCMB plans to deploy its state-of-the-art technology and mobile banking solutions to drive the project mainly in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements, where most farmers are based.
“The bank will also organise capacity-building programmes for farmers. This is aimed at facilitating their understanding of the sector and promoting innovative ideas that will make the sector attractive and ultimately facilitate job creation that will, in turn, impact productivity and income”, the lender added.
While commenting on the initiative, the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Adam Nuru, who described agribusiness as one of the various empowerment strategies adopted by the bank and appreciated by stakeholders within and outside Nigeria, noted that the development would revolutionise agribusiness in the country
According to him, the partnership with the WSBI is built on a sustainable approach that ensures that farmers can gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help them build successful businesses.
The banker said: “Nigerian peasant farmers have been at a disadvantage due to several factors such as land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance and inadequate cash flow.
“Over the years, they have suffered lack of essential services such as access to good markets to create low economies of scale, challenges in the promotion of agricultural productivity while encountering various hurdles in their bid to achieve an increase in food security”, he added.
While expressing optimism that with the collaboration between FCMB and the WSBI the challenges would be addressed, Nuhu encouraged farmers that benefitted from the initiative to make the best use of the opportunity.
He assured that FCMB would continue to partner WSBI to create opportunities that will ensure the realisation of the personal and business needs of customers.