UPDATE: FCMB operates 150 solar-powered branches limits reliance on national grid, diesel generators

Oredola Adeola

First City Monument Bank now operates 150 (73%) solar-powered branches, out of over 200  branch networks across Nigeria, thereby limiting its operational reliance on electricity from the  national grid and diesel generators power sources. The financial institution has thus pioneered a clean-energy top leadership in the Nigeria banking industry, ahead of industry peers in the race towards a low-carbon future.

This was confirmed in a statement obtained by EnergyDay from the Bank on Monday.

Nigeria’s FCMB Group revealed that decarbonisation and scaling clean energy are top on its agenda in Nigeria which is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuel.

The bank further said that it has cut its carbon footprint considerably and scaled its financial commitment to businesses committed to clean energy.

EnergyDay also gathered that the bank has also made giant strides in financing renewable energy resources to support global decarbonisation efforts.

The lender said it is backing clean off-grid energy solutions to bridge the supply gap in Africa’s most populous nation as the demand for household and commercial energy rises exponentially. A radical departure from the country’s predominant energy source – fossil fuels.

Ladi Balogun, FCMB Group Chief Executive and contributing expert at the University of Oxford (Leading Sustainable Corporations Programme), said access to energy drives economic growth and development.

He urged more commitment to clean energy finance to improve the quality of life and accelerate growth and development in developing and underdeveloped economies.

Yemisi Edun, Managing Director of the Bank, described FCMB’s bold intervention in the renewable energy sector as the solution to the energy shortfall challenge facing individuals and businesses in Nigeria.

She believes it will unlock the sector’s potential and pave the way for more private sector investments in renewable energy projects.First City Monument Bank, as part of efforts to bridge the gap between  92 million people in Nigeria without access to electricity, confirmed that it has partnered with development finance institutions to provide targeted financing to improve Nigeria’s energy access through mini-grids and energy-efficient projects.

EnergyDay gathered that the pan-Nigerian commercial bank had in 2021,  signed a $35 million loan and a EURIZ portfolio guarantee of N5 billion (EUR 10 million equivalent) deal with Proparco.

The credit line was specifically dedicated to funding renewable energy projects and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lender also noted that it is working with other institutions including African Development Bank and International Finance Corporation.

FCMB further added that it has also activated project collaborations with the Nigerian Electrification Programme (NEP) and Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP) under the Rural Electrification Agency, Solar Naija Programme and the Central Bank of Nigeria.The FCMB Group subsidiary disclosed that it has executed credit enhancement agreements worth over N21 billion to improve energy supply, enhance cost efficiency and access to clean energy.

The Bank said its financing proposition allows value chain players in the renewable energy sector to access loans of up to 70% of their project cost without collateral under the World Bank/Rural Electrification Agency (REA) of Nigeria scheme.

“Between June and July this year, FCMB has provided credit lines worth about N1.7 billion to firms operating in the renewable energy sector. Out of the funds, over N265m went into mini-grid projects, with a total PV capacity of 392KWp, in Rivers, Niger, Ebonyi state and the Ondo States.

“We have also financed three hybrid energy efficiency projects in Lagos and Abuja with about N330m. These projects increased access to sustainable energy sources for about 3,000 households and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

 They now enjoy a constant electricity supply from clean and environmentally friendly solar, hydro and biomass sources,” the lender noted.

FCMB Group further revealed that it is building and driving an ecosystem that fosters inclusive and sustainable growth across Nigerian communities.

It says, “Energy guarantees basic comfort and quality of life. It is an essential element of contemporary life that fuels productive activities such as commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, education, healthcare and more. For example, life without electricity, one of the many forms of energy, is tortuous and described as living in the dark.”