Union Bank has announced that it has received a $40 million facility from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to boost access to finance for local business, increase international trade and help protect the country’s economy from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The facility, under IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), will support Union Bank to establish working partnership with nearly 300 major international banks within the GTFP network, thereby broadening access to finance and reducing cash collateral requirements for Nigerian businesses.
The facility will enable the continued flow of trade credit into the Nigerian market at a time when imports are critical, and the country’s exports can generate much-needed foreign exchange.
According to the terms of the agreement, the GTFP would offer confirming banks partial or full guarantees covering payment risk on Union Bank’s trade-related transactions. The guarantees are transaction-specific and may be demonstrated by a variety of underlying instruments including letters of credit, trade-related promissory notes, guarantees, bonds, and advance payment guarantees.
Commenting on the development, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, said: “Union Bank is pleased to join the IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. This is a significant achievement as we continue to expand our trade financing offerings to our corporate customers.
“Even in these peculiar times, we remain focused on contributing to economic growth by developing tailored solutions that help our customers harness the teeming opportunities that still exist in the Nigerian market.”
On her part, IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Ms Eme Essien Lore said: “Keeping trade moving is essential to growth and job creation, especially during the challenging economic times we are living through today.
“We welcome Union Bank to IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program and value a partnership that will make a positive impact on Nigeria’s economy.”
The statement added: “Since the launch of the GTFP in 2005, the network has grown to be the largest of IFC’s seven trade initiatives with a robust network comprising major international banks across the world.
“Union Bank’s admission into the GTFP network underscores its focus on developing innovative channels to support Nigerian businesses. In 2018, the Bank introduced the Local Letter of Credit, a first-of-its-kind adaptation of the standard Letter of Credit which focuses on facilitating local trade.
“IFC’s partnership with Union Bank underscores IFC’s growing commitment to Nigeria, with investments focused on sectors including healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing, technology, and SME financing.”