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FirstBank, WIMBIZ Partner On Financing Women-led Businesses

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First Bank Nigeria has said it is collaborating with Women in Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) to support and promote women led businesses as it revealed that more than 55,000 of its Firstmonie agents spread across the country are women.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by delegates of WIMBIZ to the bank, chief executive of the FirstBank Group, Olusegun Alebiosu, reiterated the commitment of the bank towards supporting women led businesses.

Alebiosu who was represented by executive director, Retail Banking South, Popoola Oyefeso, noted that FirstBank's commitment to Diversity is demonstrated in its “policies, partnerships and initiatives, one of which is the employees' ratio of female to male (approximately 39 per cent: 61 per cent; and 32 per cent women in management).

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“In addition, the Bank's membership of the UN Women is an affirmation of a deliberate policy that is consistent with UN Women's Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) namely Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Nondiscrimination.

“Beyond the workforce, FirstBank's diversity and inclusion policy impact has been far-reaching, accentuating the Bank's commitment to women empowerment. For example, the FirstGem account, FirstBank's gender focused product, targeted at solving specific needs and requirements of the female segment was launched in October 2016 and has recorded a tremendous success with over 90,000 female customers signed up including working professionals and entrepreneurs.

“Through it, the Bank has successfully continued to address the unique needs of women, providing them with access to highly competitive loans, mentorships, and training programs to bolster their financial acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.

“In its over 130 years of operations, FirstBank has pioneered several innovative banking solutions which have been instrumental to digital penetration across the Bank's footprints. One of these is the Firstmonie Agency Banking which drives the financial inclusion goal of the Bank. With over 233,500 banking agents spread across identified unserved and underserved communities across Africa, FirstBank has the largest bank-led agent banking network in Africa and notably, more than 55,000 of these agents are women.

“Over the last 23 years, FirstBank has reiterated its commitment to the vision of WIMBIZ with continuous partnership and sponsorship of her Annual Conference that has positively impacted over 330,000 women, inspiring and equipping them with the necessary skills set, knowledge and resources needed to succeed both in the office and the marketplace. This partnership has provided the opportunity to reach out to women across all walks of life.

Speaking for WIMBIZ, a Board of Trustees member, Mrs Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani, outlined that WIMBIZ has a long standing track record in empowering women and “we only need to do the work we do because of collaboration and support of our sponsors and that supports goes beyond just financial support , it's the heart, the soul and the might you put behind not just getting your women to attend our events but also helping to change the narratives around diversity inclusion, gender equality and gender equity.”


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