GTBank, Access, FBNH, Standard Chartered wrestle over women entrepreneurs

GTBank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and First Bank Holding Plc, among others, are currently scrambling over one another to ensure that full gender equity in Nigeria is effected, as they have introduced several initiatives to empower women to actualize their passions.

According to a report released by McKinsey Global Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations, full gender equity could add 23% or $229 billion to the gross domestic product of the most populous black nation by 2025, the highest of any African nation.

To ensure that Nigeria’s GDP is boosted as predicted by the report, the financial institutions are using different loan facilities, which are specially designed for women, to attract their female depositors across the nation.

Some of the financial institutions and their initiatives are: 


The bank has several loan facilities that are specially designed for operators in industries that are largely dominated by women. Some of them are Food industry Credit, Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) and Small and Medium Enterprises Quick credit, which is aimed at financing the working capital needed for day to day needs of operators in the Education (creche, primary & secondary schools) and Healthcare (Hospitals, Retail Pharmacies and Diagnostic Centres) sectors.

CIFI is a loan scheme developed in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide access to long-term and low-interest financing for entrepreneurs in the creative industry, including Fashion, Music, Movies, etc.

Some of the beneficiaries of these facilities are Bolanle Austen-Peters and Yinka Shonibare, who sought loans for a cultural centre, Terra Kulture and “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” show at the National Maritime Museum in London, respectively.

What’s in it for loan seekers: 

  • 1.33% per month for the Education segment.
  • 1.75% for the Healthcare segment.
  • Customers can access up to 50% of the average annual turnover.
  • Loan tenure is 6 months (12 months for schools).
  • You can open a corporate account and operate it for 12 months before applying for the credit facility.

Food credit:  

  • Up to N2 Million
  • 9% per annum interest rate (0.75% monthly)
  • Flexible repayment plan spread over 180 days
  • Zero Fees

Access Bank 

Access Bank is another financial institution that is determined to ensure Nigeria closes the gap of the full gender parity, as it has several facilities to empower women. They are Womenpreneur, Women Power loans and the W Initiative among others.

While the Womenpreneur itch-A-Ton is to provide financial and business skills to female entrepreneurs, W initiative was introduced in 2014 to accelerate a new and stronger wave of hitherto scanty female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. The W power loan is a scheme designed to close the financing gap for female-owned businesses by providing access to loans and credit facilities. It is open to women whose businesses are in these sectors: Fashion, Catering/Eateries, Manufacturing, Beauty & Wellness, Hospitality & Tourism, Education, I.T and HealthCare.

Requirement: W Power 

  • The loan is available to only female owned businesses in which ownership is at least 50% female ownership and the business must be managed and led by a woman.
  • The business must have been in operation for at least a year with a minimum annual turnover of N5 million.
  • New account holders must have operated their accounts for at least 30 days.

First Bank 

The oldest financial institution in Nigeria has a facility tagged FirstGem. What is it meant for? The bank answers, “We recognize and understand the role of women in driving socio-economic growth and change. Given that we have solutions suited for the Nigerian woman, we are using this as the ideal opportunity to position these solutions to meet required needs. It is also a demonstration of our recognition of the power of women to achieve any and everything they set their hearts to.”


  • Every woman can open a FirstGem Account and can also migrate an existing FirstBank Account to begin enjoying FirstGem benefits
  • Zero opening balance for FirstGem Savings variants, N5,000 for FirstGem current individual and N10,000 current corporate.
  • There is a concession charge but there is no charge on FirstGem Savings Account.
  • Interest rate- Same as its regular savings account.

Standard Chartered 

The bank has Diva Club account, Borrow, Making finance work for Women and Women in Tech among others.

It says, “At Standard Chartered we believe women deserve special treatment; that’s why we have introduced the Diva Club Account, an account that celebrates women.”

The Making Finance Work for Women by Women’s World Banking was introduced to address the key considerations around women’s access to financial services.


  • Evidence of source of income: staff ID or letter of employment or Form C07
  • Two suitable references – internal or external on direct
  • 1 passport photograph
  • Valid International passport, driver’s license, national ID card or voter’s card
  • Proof of residential address for authorised signatories: current utility bill (not more than 3 months old) or documented staff visit or signed tenancy agreement
  • NGN 50 stamp (sign across)
  • Initial deposit

Women are untapped resources 

Head, Women Banking, Access Bank, Ada Udechukwu, explained that women make most of the consumer purchases in the home; she described them as an untapped economy.

She said, “We have seen a two-fold surge in deposits from women over the past year since we opened a gender-diversity unit, while the number of female customers has also doubled.” 

Being chaired by a woman, Mosun Belo-Olusoga, Access Bank, has a 15-person team dedicated to gender issues at its Lagos headquarters. Each branch has a point person whose job is to target women and female-owned companies with savings and insurance products.

“The lender is also finding that women are better savers, are more loyal and are better at repaying debt. Their non-performing loans ratio is less than 1%, compared with about 6% across the group,” she added.

Head, Local division, Standard Chartered, Dayo Aderugbo, explained that Nigerian unit plans to give management training through a women-focused program that it has deployed in the U.S., Kenya, Pakistan and the U.A.E.

She said, “Our Nigerian business, which is aiming to increase female customers to 500,000 from 100,000 over the next two years, will also offer some women entrepreneurs grants to expand. We are positively optimistic we would be very successful in banking Nigerian women. There is a steady growing population of women in business in Nigeria and the bank sees this as an opportunity to equally make tangible, measurable impact.”

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