Daily Trust (Abuja)

23 January 2009

Nigeria: Union Bank Retains CBN Agric, SME Awards

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has again won the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)'s awards as the Best SMEEIS Support Bank for 2007 and the Best Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) - Support Bank for 2007, consistently retaining the Awards since inception.

Two farmers financed by Union Bank, Alhaji Yusuf Yekini and Justice Mua'azu Pindiga, emerged as the Best National Farmers of the Year in Tree Crop and Arable Crop categories. Also, its associated company, Unique Venture Capital Company Limited was adjudged as the Best Venture Capital Company in financing small and medium enterprises under the SMEEIS for 2007.

Union Bank has consistently won the apex bank's awards for its unflinching support in boosting agricultural production as well as the small and medium enterprises as a pivotal engine of growth and employment generation. As at date, the Bank has the highest percentage in terms of investment relative to the set aside funds, as well as geographical spread and sectoral allocation according to the CBN.

Also, in 2007, the Bank granted a total of 31,795 loans valued at N3.38billion to customers in different parts of the country, representing 77 per cent and 80.4 per cent in number and value of loans disbursed by all the deposit money banks under the ACGSF.

Meanwhile, Union Bank has introduced new products as a way of strengthening its channels of credit to customers, including the Civil Service Farming Scheme. It has also added the patronage of the Trust Fund Model introduced by the CBN.

In 2006, Union Bank financed farmers won the CBN's Best State Farmer of the Year award in 29 States of the Federation, including Abuja, as well as the Best National Farmers of the Year in all the four categories, namely Arable Crop,

Fisheries, Tree Crop and Livestock. This underscores the Bank's consistent leadership role in micro finance disbursement and agricultural financing.

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