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The Director General of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, explained that previous efforts by the agency to assist SMEs in the country had been hampered by a lack of awareness by the public of the existence of its intervention programs. This problem, in part, necessitated the partnership with Sterling Bank, which would leverage its visibility and publicity to attract prospective beneficiaries of its loans.
Details of the Loan Program
- Through the partnership between SMEDAN and Sterling Bank, SMEs will apply for and receive loans of between ₦250,000 and ₦2.5 million.
- The loans will come at single-digit interest rates, with repayment expected to be made within 2 years of receiving them.
- No collateral will be demanded from loan beneficiaries.
- SMEDAN will begin reviewing applications for loans from small businesses starting 2 weeks after its announcement was made.
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How the Loans will be applied for and AccessedThe Managing Director of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, explained that:
- Persons who want to receive the SMEDAN loan will apply for it through a platform called ‘Banker’, which will be a digital platform run by the bank.
- The digital channel is being lined up as a means of accessing the loan because it’s an easier and more convenient way to apply for it than approaching physical bank branches, where the paperwork involved may prove tedious and time-consuming.
- The ’Banker’ platform will offer other services as well, including assistance with business organization, record keeping and managing loan repayments.
- If businesses are not granted a loan on their first attempt, they will learn why they did not qualify for the loan and will be given the chance to make adjustments and reapply for the loan.
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Further InformationMr Suleiman also said that Sterling Bank will be publishing a link shortly, which will enable it to receive applications and build a list of potential beneficiaries. In order to qualify for consideration, businesses have to meet the following criteria:
- Must be a law-abiding business run by Nigerian citizens without a criminal record
- Should not have a bad credit history
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