Ecobank Nigeria has launched the Emerald Ecobank Business Club, which aims at widening opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the creation of direct links with its operational footprints in 33 African markets.
According to the bank, Emerald Club is an enhanced version of SME Club, created specifically to enhance the SME business and the local cooperates, which are the key drivers of economic activities in Nigeria, especially across Africa.
The Country Head, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Rotimi Morohunfola, said that the club was an initiative of the commercial banking group of the Ecobank Group, to drive business across Africa.
He said the the bank was essentially, trying to integrate more SMEs in their growth aspirations, objectives of doing business across regions and geographies, and to build a formidable partnership, as the preferred banking partner for small businesses.
“The Emerald Club comes with certain value adding offerings, in terms of banking service solutions, concessions in banking services and the pricing of certain services they provide. We also do capacity building, which is holding the hands of our customers to ensure they achieve their aims.
“We support them, not just with financial services, but also in decision making that will help their businesses do better. The objective of the club in a nutshell, is to ensure that they are partners. Obviously, the SME segment of the market has been challenging, when it comes to accessing finance, but what we’ve tried to do in Ecobank was to look beyond collateral.
“We want to understand the businesses and cash cycle of these customers, so that we can structure facilities and loans for them around their cash flow. So, even if they don’t provide collateral, we can see where their cash comes from and put structures that enables them pay back the loans,” he said.
He maintained that Ecobank, as an institution, have collaborated with partners that believe in the support of SME business as the catalyst for growth of any economy.
“In this partnership, we have been able to get into collaborations with certain fund providers that give concessionary rates.”