Cititrust Financial Services affirms its support to SMEs in Nigeria

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Despite the challenging economic and regulatory landscape, Cititrust Financial Services, an investment firm has affirmed to make quality and significant contribution towards the growth of the economy, especially in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) sub-sector.

This they also confirmed it has perfected arrangements to list by introduction on the nation’s bourse before the end of the second quarter.

The Country Chief Executive Officer of Cititrust Financial Services, Mr Ikechukwu Peter, disclosed this at a media parley in Lagos.

Peter said that the company’s decision to list on the exchange was to make its shares available to more Nigerians and as well to raise capital.

According to him, SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are significant contributors to job creation and global economic development.

‘Also, they represent about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide. It is equally on record that formal SMEs contribute up to 40per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in emerging economies.’

Following the belief that creating avenues for business improvement, profitability and sustainability is important to the growth and advancement of any nation, Cititrust Financial Services has assured to unlocked several opportunities for SMEs to thrive, he stated

On growing the business, he said that the company would also grow its balance sheet size of N36 billion by 50 per cent before the end of 2021.

“We are also looking at growing our lending powers, we have a risk asset portfolio of about N12 billion, we are also looking at growing that by another 50 per cent incrementally by the end of this year,” he said.

He said that the company was also making plans to migrate Living Trust Mortgage Bank from a state licenced mortgage bank to a national mortgage bank.

“We are coming up with a programme through our Cititrust Academy on April 15, where people can learn the basics of business and be able to impact their operational lives as they move on.

“We expect that by mid next year, all our subsidiaries will be top industry players in the space where they play, because we believe that money is made at the top,” he said.

According to him, there are lots of initiatives that the investment firm want to bankroll in terms of Corporate Social Responsibilities to its communities, adding that all of these needs money and the whole idea was to see how to give back to the society.

Speaking on fintech, he said, the earlier the government and financial institutions begin to look at that sector, the better for the economy.

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had further validated the need for businesses to go digital.

“The truth of the matter is that fintech is the way, any business that is not positioned for that right now, will experience a dramatic nose dive. We are not there yet, we are putting the virtual processes in place.

“The platforms are being built as we speak, the engagement with vendors is actually in top gear. So, between now and the end of the year, we should be playing actively in that space because the truth is, it is an investment that cannot go wrong. Plans are seriously in motion and before the end of the year, we will be active in that space,” he added.

Speaking on the company’s loan exposure, he said it was minimal and within the threshold of regulatory requirement of five per cent.

He attributed the reason for high non-performing loan to lack of effective monitoring from the point of disbursement.

“If you don’t monitor these loans properly, you will discover that even the customer that has the capacity to pay, will not pay.

“When proper structures are on ground, the monies will come back. When the monitoring is there, things will not go bad. The structure of the loan is another thing that should be looked at. Once all these dynamics are properly understood, the exposure will be minimal,” he said.

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