Nigeria’s Union Bank secures US$200m funding for SMEs, women initiatives

NIGERIAUnion Bank of Nigeria Plc, has secured $200m funding via a partnership with sub-Saharan Africa financial services group, Atlas Mara Limited.

The financial institution revealed that the funds deal was secured through an agreement with Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US government development finance institution.

Under the terms of the agreement, Union Bank will receive a 10-year term loan of up to $200m from OPIC for investments in digitisation, on-lending to the Small and Medium Enterprises and funding for women-led businesses.

A statement indicated that this was part of OPIC’s 2X Women’s initiative which aimed to catalyse $1bn for investment in women across developing nations.

The bank said that the agreement was consistent with Union Bank’s long-standing commitment to enabling enterprise and empowering women-owned businesses.

Earlier this year, Union Bank launched Alpher (α), a proposition aimed at uplifting women across all segments of the Nigerian society through capacity building opportunities, networking platforms, scholarships and tailored financial services for women.

Last year, Union Bank also introduced an innovative business acceleration programme, ‘Start- up Connect’, which enabled Nigerian businesses to create technology-based solutions to be more competitive in the rapidly expanding African technology market.

The statement also stated that the bank had been steadfast in providing innovative services where SMEs can access up to US$20,000 per quarter for importation without opening Letters of Credit or Bills for Collection under the Form Q scheme.

Speaking on the funding milestone, the Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, said,“We welcome this partnership with OPIC as we are well-positioned in Nigeria to further advance lending to key segments of the population, especially SMEs.

The Bank’s Chief also said that the 10-year tenor of the OPIC facility provides flexibility to maximise impact across key sectors of the Nigerian economy even as the bank continues to advance proven initiatives including those focused on women’s banking and financial inclusion.”

The President and Chief Executive Officer, OPIC, David Bohigian, said, “OPIC is delighted to partner Atlas Mara and the team at Union Bank to drive inclusive leading in Nigeria.”

Union Bank’s history can be traced back to 1917 when it opened operations in Nigeria as Colonial bank.

The bank has since passed through various phases that saw its name to Barclays Bank of Nigeria limited before settling on the current Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

The Financial institution has gradually grown and currently controls over US$4Billion in assets and operates over 320 branches and 820 ATMs countrywide.

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