Shareholders of First Bank Plc have commended the decision of the bank to set aside N15 billion educational loan facility for schools in Nigeria to enhance preparation for the commencement of another school term this week.
Education being the bedrock for enlightenment, they maintained, is in dire need of adequate funding in order to raise the leaders of tomorrow.
They equally stated that the First Bank’s decision was a bold step in the right direction aimed towards improving the system and the economy at large, while expressing optimism for a better return on investment for shareholders this year.
Following its commitment to effectively give back to the society, First Bank said it has set aside N15 billion loan budget for schools in Nigeria.
Reacting to this in a chat with Daily Champion, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail, said this bold step, which I believe the management must have known how it would be of benefit to the bank before projecting the amount, would improve the nation’s education sector. I do know that this project shall bring a good return for the best interest of the stakeholders and shareholders of the bank”.
Also speaking, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, a shareholder activist, said: “I am not really surprised because it has been the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of First Bank to spearhead such large humanitarian projects in Nigeria, one of the main reasons they don’t give bumper dividends and instead when things were great, they issue script- Issue in support of low dividend policy and must be seen in that light.
“Really, when you seriously look at the unwritten responsibility of the bank to the society, it is to grow the economy and assist developmental projects. The N15 billion educational loan was a step in the right direction because of the huge setback our educational sector has been experiencing for the past two decades.
“Check on First Bank history, background and Heritage, they believe they were part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the economy,” he said.
Announcing the facility at the weekend in a statement, the bank stated: “First Bank of Nigeria Limited is in its usual style is supporting schools with their educational requirements to enhance preparations for the school year. FirstBank developed an array of products and solutions targetted at enabling schools to acquire attractive educational facilities to support their business whilst empowering parents and guardians to seamlessly send their wards back to school. The Bank has set aside N15 billion loan budget for schools in Nigeria.
“The bank’s educational products and solutions include the FirstEdu Loan, Operational Vehicle Loan, Term Loans for constructing new sites and renovation of existing sites, Personal Loan against Salary (PLAS) and Salary Overdraft (SODA) which enhances Parents/Guardians’ capacity to pay their wards’ school fees.
“The FirstEdu loan is targetted at private Nursery, Secondary and A-Levels schools. The product offers opportunity for private schools to access flexible funding to meet urgent cash flow needs, replace old furniture and equipment, as well as refurbish dilapidated buildings and classroom blocks.
“With this product, school owners/proprietors can stay ahead of competition in providing educational services and support to the target population by maintaining acceptable standard infrastructure at all times.
“This product allows the customer access up to N10 million with no tangible collateral required apart from the domiciliation of school account with the Bank. This reduces the cost of borrowing to the customer and eliminates the challenges posed by the provision of additional demanding collaterals.
“The Operational Vehicle Loan is targeted at registered businesses. It allows the entrepreneur to acquire brand new vehicles for the day to day operation of the business. Institutions can take advantage of this facility to purchase school buses in the case of school proprietors and even upscale their staff welfare schemes through provision of staff buses. The product terms and conditions are competitive.
“Personal Loan against Salary (PLAS) offers customers in paid employment access to cash to meet immediate financial needs such as payment of school fees, medical treatment, holiday expenses, etc. PLAS has a flexible repayment plan spread up to 48 months for our customers’ convenience. There is no equity contribution or collateral requirement.
“The Salary Overdraft Account (SODA) is also available to customers who want short tenured overdraft to meet immediate financial needs. SODA can be dispensed as a one-off overdraft for 30 days or a revolving overdraft for 180 days with up to 50 percent of net monthly salary. Only a salary account qualifies you to access PLAS and SODA if you work with any of First Bank’s approved list of employers”.
For a better society.