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Leading financial institution, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has emerged as Best SME Bank in Africa and Best SME Bank in Nigeria at the Asian Banker Middle East and Africa Regional Awards.The SME friendly bank beat all other Nigerian and African banks to win national and continental honours. It emerged as Best SME Bank in Africa for the second time at the rigorous, prestigious, and transparent country-level honour programme for consumer financial services and technology in the Middle East and Africa.Commenting on the awards, the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs Yemisi Edun, said, “We are excited to win two awards this year, especially the Best SME Bank in Africa, for the second year. This shows that we are meeting the specific needs of customers in this segment and are on a growth trajectory. The awards will inspire us to further expand the frontiers of our innovation and go the extra mile to provide solutions that consistently enhance customer experience.” Thanking the Asian Banker for the awards, Mrs Edun dedicated them to the Bank’s SME customers. She added that First City Monument Bank would continue to offer exceptional services, including funding and capacity building to small businesses.Remarkably, the Bank has taken the lead in digitisation by automating its lending process for SMEs through the FCMB Quickloans platform. Through this channel, the lender has disbursed over N100billion in loans to entrepreneurs. It processes over 25,000 digital loans, with disbursements hitting N9billion in a month in the third quarter of 2021.In addition, the Bank provides market intelligence and technical assistance support to small businesses, access to intervention funds in partnership with Development Financial Institutions, as well as provision of credit facilities to mitigate the credit risk and collateral gaps experienced in lending to SMEs. So far, the Bank has provided over N23 billion loan guarantee support to SMEs with inadequate collateral or those in the start-up stage.Over 30 financial institutions and technology companies from 10 countries in the Middle East and Africa historically send in entries for adjudication at the annual Asian Banker the Middle East and Africa Regional Awards. Apart from its panel of international assessors, the judging process is supplemented by BankQuality, a premier rating site for financial service providers and customers.