Diamond Bank Plc has been named and awarded the Best SME Bank in West Africa by the famous Banker Magazine in the 2015 West Africa Awards. The Bank also emerged as the Best Microfinance Bank in West Africa.
According to the awarding institution, the awards are in recognition of the Bank’s high value addition to the growth of micro businesses in West African and its leading role in stimulating the productive capacity of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) as the engine that drives industrialization and sustainable economic growth and development.
A message from the awarding institution as reflected in the award certificates signed by Robin Amiot, Chief Executive Officer and Georgina Gongs, Managing Editor, stated that Diamond Bank’s success in the fiercely contested award categories by a lot of nominated banks in West Africa, is inrecognition and reward for the quality of its financial products purely tailor-made to stimulate the productive strength of the SME sector and the unrivalled excellence in services to customers.
“The publishers of Banker Africa understand the importance of best-in-class benchmarks and growing a dynamic and successful regional finance industry. Your institutions success in the Banker Africa – West African Awards as category winners for Best SME Bank West Africa and Best Microfinance Bank West Africa,” reflects Diamond Bank’s superior creative vigour that has stamped her as a dominant financial house in the region.
Winners in each of the award categories emerged after nominated financial institutions were subjected to a rigorous and transparent voting process by registered website users across Africa.
According to Uzoma Dozie, Diamond Bank’s CEO, the investment and focus on the MSME segment is strategic and predictive. In his view, the future of sustainable banking in Nigeria is retail, therefore it is necessary to grow and consolidate its strength in the segment.
Commenting on the success of the Bank in growing the SME sector, Ayona Trimnell, Head, Corporate CommunicationsDivision stated that the award is a huge testament of Diamond Bank’s strategic growth plan to see the SME as the hub of economic activity in the country, noting that an area in which the Bank has moved ahead of the pack is in the designing, management and delivery of SME stakeholder-orientated banking products and services.
“This award to Diamond Bank as the Best SME Bank is a strong testament of our focus, commitment and conviction that SMEs represent and remain the main driving engine for sustainable economic growth and development. We recognize that the SME segment is a critical arm of the private sector and holds the key to addressing the perennial problem of youth and adult unemployment, and subsequently created a compelling value proposition comprising financial and nonfinancial solutions to address MSME needs. Today, our Bank is the model in the industry, and in the last four years has groomed and developed a pool of SME stakeholders into a strong productive force in the economy. We cherish this award,” she stated.
With a firm footprint in SMEs financing in the last five years combined with vigorous retail business, Diamond Bank has gone from being Nigeria’s 10th largest bank by assets in 2012, to the sixth largest by the end of 2014 with over NGN1.8trn in assets.
Although the Bank’s business focus consists of corporate, retail and public sector businesses, the Bank’s SMEs footprints has become a model for the industry. Particularly interesting are the many financial products that SME operators could easily access withoutencumbrances.
To deepen its SME thrust and penetration, Diamond Bank has also embarked on the continuous development of women-friendly propositions and services aimed at empowering women economically. This includes the Diamond Woman Proposition, a fully-fledged business support initiative designed to empower its female customers by building their capacity in managing their finances, family life, career and businesses through platforms such as seminars, conferences, networking events and an active online community.”
The bank has remained the key driver of entrepreneurship across Nigeria, the effects of which include the creation of jobs for millions of people, particularly at the grassroots. The success recorded in this area has led to numerous invitations for strategic partnerships by multilateral international agencies including the IFC, USAID, Women’s World of Banking, Shore Cap Exchange and DFID.
Diamond Bank currently has over 250 branches in Nigeria in addition to subsidiaries in Benin Republic, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and the UK. The Bank was first listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2005 and in January 2008, its global depositary receipt was listed on the Professional Securities Market of the London Stock Exchange. Diamond Bank was the first bank in Africa to record this feat.