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In line with its mandate of growing its customer base and the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector, Fidelity Bank of Nigeria Plc on Thursday said its loan to deposit ratio is well over 80 per cent, confirming its robust support for Nigerian entrepreneurs.

It also said it has spent N2.6 billion in appreciating 6,000 of its customers in its nationwide financial loyalty scheme programme.

Its Regional Bank Head, Abuja, Vanessa Mordi, made stated this at an entrepreneurship incubation seminar in Abuja.

According to her, the bank has, in the last five years, provided robust financial and entrepreneurial support to various MSMEs across the country.

She said: “We believe that banking is about taking from the haves to the have-nots. Most of the loans we’ve given is to MSMEs. We identified this niche area long before other banks did. Others are coming into the market now, maybe with the CBN directive”.

Mordi listed some of the support initiatives to include the commercial support overdraft which gives a bridging facility for small businesses.

“We also have the CSST, where we use their shops to give them little facility. We also have Managed SMEs desk. It tries to understand their businesses, supports them, ascertain exactly what their needs are and address them accordingly. “It’s not so much about the financial needs. At times, the customer might need just financial management skills and not the capital itself.

“At times, they mix these up. So, we try to address these issues and meet their needs’, she explained.

We follow our customers closely to ensure they utilise the loans well and replay according to plan. Default is not high because we manage our loans”, she added.

Mordi said the bank’s sustained financial loyalty scheme for a category of savings has taken the bank to different parts of the country.

“In Abuja, we did it in Kubwa, Wuse market, Apo mechanic village and so on”.

Also speaking, a financial consultant, Mr Ferdinand Okechukwu Cyril urged government and other philanthropists to ensure they empower the youths and women with requisite knowledge and skills for entrepreneurship.

He said entrepreneurship education was the only way to lift Nigeria out of poverty as many people have received financial support but frittered it away because of lack of knowledge for the vocation.

“It’s not about money essentially. Some got youwin money and frittered it away.

“To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need excellent managerial skills, perseverance, doggedness, patience. financial management skills, sales and marketing skills, human capital development skills, among others”, he explained.

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