FirstBank bags best SME Bank Awards in Africa and Nigeria

By Seun Johnson

In recognition of its notable growth in the Small and Medium Enterprises business, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has been named the Best SME Bank in Africa and Best SME Bank in Nigeria.

The leading Nigeria’s financial institution bagged these honours at the 2024 Asian Banker Global Excellence Retail Awards.

The Excellence in Retail Finance Awards Programme, which includes the Global Excellence in Retail Finance Awards and The Annual Digital Bank Awards, is one of the most established awards of its kind that recognize exceptional innovation, leadership, management, and performance in the financial sector.

Since its inception in 2001, the programme has recognized leading financial institutions worldwide that are dedicated to building a sustainable and profitable retail finance franchise and to meeting customer needs above and beyond its peers. It is also the most rigorous and transparent awards programme for retail financial services.

The scheme evaluates banks and non-bank institutions on a global, regional, and country level through a comprehensive evaluation process, covering more than 60 different award categories.

According to The Asian Banker’s Strategic Business Intelligence for the Financial Services Community, FirstBank demonstrated exceptional performance, notably in its SME sector, by achieving more than 100 per cent revenue growth while maintaining a reduced cost-to-income ratio of 16.5 percent.

It also revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises contributed 26 per cent of overall bank revenue. Furthermore, the institution’s SME customer base grew by seven percent, reaching a total of more than one million.

For this significant growth in the SME business, the bank was awarded the Best SME Bank in Nigeria and Best SME Bank in Africa.

For many years, FirstBank has been renowned for supporting customers by offering exceptional value propositions that are tailored to each industry sector, enhancing its processes through digital innovation, providing diverse financing options, and fostering strong relationship banking to achieve best-in-class customer engagement.

The bank’s integrated platform helps businesses to grow, reduce cost while at the same time, enable expansion into regional and international markets through its Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiaries.

While expressing delight at the Bank’s performance, Ms Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said: “We thank the Asian Banker Awards for the recognition and dedicate these awards to our esteemed SME customers that have progressively impacted the socio-economic growth of not just Nigeria but also the African continent given their critical role as the engine of any economy.

“For 130 years, FirstBank has continued to enable the giants in our customers including our SMEs as well as other stakeholders, and we remain committed to delivering the ultimate ‘gold standard’ of value and excellence.”


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