Union Bank Moves to Enhance Trade Finance

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By Nume Ekeghe

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has unveiled a new and a first of its kind initiative called ‘Local Letter of Credit,’ which is a variant of the standard letter of credit adapted for use in domestic trade.

Also, as part of efforts to provide tailored services to different sections of its customer base, the bank recently organised a trade finance conference for its corporate customers in Lagos.

The newly introduced local letter of credit seamlessly bridges the payment gap between local buyers and suppliers, with Union Bank assuming the liability for payment to the seller.

This, according to the bank, positions the buyer more favorably, providing them with greater leverage in commercial negotiations. Also, with the local letter of credit, customers are able to obtain preferential conditions like extended payment days, thereby reducing working capital costs.

Highlighting the critical role of trade to the growth of the economy, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Union Bank, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo, explained that the forum was organised at a period when corporate organisations need to be able to identify and exploit opportunities for growth.

Speaking at the event, Okonkwo said: “The launch of our local letter of credit today is in line with our commitment to provide innovative and tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of our corporate customers.

“At Union Bank, we remain focused on helping our customers identify and leverage sustainable ways to build their businesses as Nigeria navigates through the economic recovery process.”

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director, Trade & Exchange at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr. Ozeomena Nnaji, said: “We applaud the innovation of Union Bank with the introduction of the Local Letter of Credit which is one way of deepening the relationship with customers and promoting their businesses.

“This initiative will also help the bank’s customers save costs and stay in business. We encourage other banks to follow suit in providing innovative solutions to help businesses grow.”

 Speakers at the event included the Head of Transaction Banking at Union Bank, Chidi Ileka and Head, Corporate Banking Group Specialised Unit, Sola Olubi.

The conference highlighted Union Bank’s commitment to its customers across the country, providing them with the much- needed support they need to achieve their business and personal goals.