Diamond Bank earmarks N300Million for SME Financing
In line with its tradition of playing a leading role in engineering the growth and development of the Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses in the country, Diamond Bank Plc has finalized plans to lend out the sum of N300million to this sector before end of April, 2009.
In a statement by the Bank, it stated that in the knowledge that the economy maybe showing some signs of slowing down and understanding the fact that small businesses are the catalysts for the growth of the Nigerian economy, Diamond Bank has announced the launch of a new lending product specifically designed to help Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise businesses.
"Working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Diamond Bank has launched a revolving lending facility designed to supplement business capital and iron out cash flow difficulties. An initial tranche of N300 million has been made available to lend, with the expectation that this will be fully utilized by the end of April 2009," it said. Adding that further trenches of lending will be available in due course.
Commenting on the new product, the Group Managing Director/CEO Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Emeka Onwuka stated that the timing of the product launch could never have been more auspicious than now.
"We are determined to support our SME customers even when times are difficult and our intention is to remain the leading SME Bank in Nigeria. We expect high demand for this lending and encourage our customers to visit their branch and speak with their account officer, he said"
He further stated that expanding lending to micro, small and medium enterprises is an important part of Diamond Bank's growth strategy and it is a key driver of its retail banking initiative. "Also working with IFC", he said, "will enable the Bank to better reach smaller businesses, which contribute substantially to Nigeria's economy".
It is important to note that Diamond Bank had before now partnered with Shell Petroleum Development Company and GroFin of South Africa to float a $30m fund branded ASPIRE NIGERIA to serve as a catalyst for the development and growth of Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The fund is expected to enhance the operations of indigenous small and medium enterprises through the provision of much needed business development assistance and appropriate finance. The fund demonstrated the interests of the partners in contributing to the development of SMEs as a means of enhancing wealth creation in the economy