First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has taken a bold step to underscore its undiluted support for agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria.
It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute, WSBI, which outlines a framework designed to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors.
In addition to other areas of support stated in the terms of the partnership, WSBI will provide technical oversight functions on a regular basis, all geared towards the full implementation of the set objectives and goals mutually agreed upon by both institutions.
In accord with the spirit and letter of the memorandum, FCMB will roll out an integrated savings account called Kampe Account designed to offer financial services to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states. This comes under phase one of the bank’s plan through agricultural agents operating under FCMB’s agency banking proposition.
The first set of states to benefit in the first phase are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. Through this strategic plan, FCMB aims at reaching at least two million farmers across Nigeria by 2023.
In addition to the financial support to farmers, the bank also plans to deploy its state-of-the art technology and mobile banking solutions to drive the project, especially in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements where most farmers are based. The bank will also organize capacity-building programmes for farmers to boost better understanding of the sector and promote innovative ideas that would make the sector attractive and more profitable. This, the bank hopes, will ultimately facilitate job creation, impact on productivity and boost income.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of FCMB, Mr. Adam Nuru, is supremely confident that the collaboration with WSBI will be fruitful and revolutionize agribusiness.
‘”Partnering with WSBI and harnessing the business model we have developed to drive it, under our Kampe Account, is built on a sustainable approach which ensures farmers can gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help them build successful businesses,” Nuru said.
Hitherto, small scale farmers in the country have been hindered from achieving their optimum productivity by land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance and inadequate cash flow, among other limiting factors. They have, over the years, suffered from lack of essential services such as access to good markets to create low economies of scale, challenges in the promotion of agricultural productivity, hurdles in their bid to achieve increased food security to improve rural economy and livelihoods.
But the two institutions. FCMB and WSBI, are optimistic that all the challenges will be surmounted.
“Farmers who benefit from this effort can and should make the best use of the opportunity,”Nuhu enthused. “FCMB will continue to partner with WSBI to create opportunities that would ensure the realization of the personal and business needs of customers.”
On his part, WSBI Managing Director, Chris De Noose, said: “The Kampe Savings Project is yet another example of the innovative ways rural communities can flourish through mobile savings and beyond. Expanding banking access and agricultural services through the provision of mobile services to the farming community, which increasingly includes more women, can help knock out any doubt about the payoff that farming can bring.”
Established in 1924, the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute, WSBI, represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serves approximately 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). The institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, in industrialized and less developed countries.
A member of FCMB Group Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.