First Bank to support SMEs with technology

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The Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Gbenga Shobo, has said that the bank will continue to invest in technology and support the development of Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

He spoke during the launch of  FirstBank-Microsoft Partnership programme with the theme, ‘The accelerating impact of  digital transformation on business growth in Nigeria.’

Shobo said, “We are paying attention to the technology and the SME segment. The SME segment is a very crucial one for us. It is a bigger part of our customer base. We want to start creating more value for them.”

Shobo noted that with the partnership, the bank’s customers, especially SMEs, could buy the Microsoft applications at discounted rates, and could pay in naira instead of dollars which sometimes was a challenge for them.

According to him, the bank has a portal where the SMEs can ask for advice on the products, there is also extra sales support which the bank can get Microsoft to give to the SMEs if they cannot get it on their own.

He said, “There is a portal where they can ask for advice on the products, there is also extra sales support we can also get Microsoft to give them. They might be able to get that on their own.

“But because Microsoft is our customer and the SMEs are also our customers, we manage to also put them together. Microsoft will also be happy to sell some of their products, so it is a win-win.

“For me, it is the SME; we are trying to promote here. We will continue to do that, this is just the first one to support our large customers.”

According to him, the SMEs are the major drivers of the economy and important to the livelihood of many Nigerians.

“We have also seen that despite the fact that they bank with us, they can grow bigger, so the bigger the SMEs, the more business that go through the bank as well,” Shobo said.

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